Roads Traveled with Linda L. Osmundson
Every morning whether I need to get up or not, my eyes pop open at 7 a.m. This morning I discovered light rain still clouds the air one week from when the rain started. Like many others I pray for all those devastated by the Colorado floods and those in Lyons surrounded by impassable roads and flooding waters.
Lyons deserves a peace pole. The Youth Art Peace Pole Project aims to create fifty poles in fifty states by the September 21, 2014 International Day of Peace.
Educators apply after selecting a worthy place to install a peace pole. Information can be found at http://www.yappp.org/.
What is a peace pole? It is usually a four to six sided pole made of any available material and any height placed at a location of importance or special memory. These monuments display one simple message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in several languages. Over 240,000 peace poles, according to one website, are spread throughout almost every country in the world.
This peace movement began with one small, physically fragile, Japanese man in 1955; Masahisa Goi (1916-1980). Goi, after witnessing the devastation from the Hiroshima atomic bomb, dedicated his life to service to humanity. He prayed, meditated, lectured, and wrote books. One lecture attendee claimed, although small in stature, his presence “engulfed the whole room.” Goi alleged he received a spiritual message he passed on through two organizations he founded, Byakko (http://www.byakko.org) and the World Peace Prayer Society (http://www.worldpeace.org/). Byakko Shinto Kai translates as “White Light Association.” Both organizations strive to extend his Universal Peace Message; May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Goi grew up in a poor family of nine children. He decided at a young age to pursue education. He put himself through school where he gained a love of music, literature, and the arts. He decided to be a teacher. Little did he know the lesson he would teach, peace.
For the 2002 Olympics, Salt Lake City installed eighty-four peace poles, one for each participating country. A copy was then given to the country to take home. The original poles now reside in the International Peace Garden, Jordan Park, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Closer to home, you can find peace poles in Northern Colorado, the foothills, and around Denver. Loveland’s Peters Park next to the museum houses one. In 1995 a vigil was held on the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
Colorado State University displays a peace pole adjacent to the Thomas Sutherland Sculpture Garden near Lory Student Center. Another can be found outside Estes Park’s Visitor’s Center. Two are in Greeley, one at the depot and a second at Aims Community College. Boulder sports poles by the downtown library and at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish. In and around Denver find peace poles at the Auraria Campus, McIntosh Park, Northglenn Peace Garden, St. Ignatius Loyola Church, and Broomfield’s Presbyterian Church. More are located in Eaton at the United Methodist Church and Allnut Mortuary as well as in Golden at the History Center. There might be others not listed on the Internet.
I hope an educator will take on the task of providing a peace pole for Lyons through the Youth Art Peace Pole Project. Although Lyons would not have the first Colorado peace pole, perhaps the city could start a drive to exhibit peace poles in every city in Colorado.