Southwestern Academy: Historic Metal Poles Rededicated for Peace
Two poles forged from metals gathered in the ruins of Hiroshima after the 1945 atomic bombing, made into a memorial by the Class of 1986 at Southwestern Academy, were rededicated by the Class of 2015 as a constant reminder for all members the San Marino school’s community of the plea “May Peace Prevail on Earth.”
The Peace Pole Project was started in Japan by Masahisa Goi, who dedicated his life to spreading the message. The family of student at Southwestern’s California campus knew Goi and the project, and secured three of the poles, made of the historic metal from the blast zone.
Southwestern’s 1986 class placed two poles at the San Marino Campus, affixed with the message of peace in the eight native languages of the class – Arabic, Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese, reflecting the school’s global diversity. Several times each day, students, teachers, and visitors walk past this plea for peace.
The third pole was installed at Southwestern’s Beaver Creek Ranch Campus in northern Arizona, near Sedona, and includes the four native languages of Southwestern’s Arizona graduates, including English, Japanese, Navajo, and Spanish.
Sun and weather over nearly forty years damaged the wording on the poles, though the plea for peace is ever more important. This fall Southwestern’s 2015 class cleaned the metal of the original Peace Poles, handcrafted international symbols of peace, and all the school community rededicated the poles earlier this month.
The plea for peace on earth, in the eight languages of the 1986 graduates, is repeated on a new, third pole made of wood, as metals from the atomic destruction is no longer available. A bronze plaque explaining the significance of the metal poles was also installed near the entrance to Southwestern’s main classroom building.
The 2015 student body president, Ron Droege from Germany, asked students and faculty to wear white on the day of rededication, as another reminder of the need to live in peace. For a few minutes before the start of the week’s classes, Southwestern’s community gathered to remember and rededicate the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth”.
Southwestern Academy, 2800 Monterey Rd., San Marino, (626) 799-5010 or visit www.southwesternacademy.edu.