The Canby Rotary Club and Canby School District on Friday unveiled a peace pole, an internationally recognized symbol of hope and harmony, at Baker Prairie Middle School.
The pole bears the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” also known as the “peace prayer,” coined by Japanese poet and philosopher Masahisa Goi in 1955. Also enclosed are some 500 messages from Baker Prairie students about the importance of world peace.
“The message ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth’ is in four languages,” Rotary past president Cash McCall explained at a brief dedication ceremony Friday afternoon.
“English, Spanish in recognition to our neighbors to the south, French in recognition of the diplomatic language used at the [United Nations], and Japanese in recognition for starting the peace message.”
The Peace Pole Project started in Japan in 1955 and has spread throughout the world, with more than 250,000 poles standing in 191 countries.
The Baker Prairie pole is Canby Rotary’s fifth and the school district’s third. Poles have also been dedicated at the Canby Public Library, the Ackerman Center, Canby High School, the Canby Police Department and the Canby Fire District.
McCall said the club’s goal is to eventually establish peace poles at every school in Canby.
“Rotary International has long supported peace efforts,” McCall said. “Through our service projects, peace fellowships and scholarships, our members are taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education and unequal distribution of resources.
“To help spread the word, local Rotary clubs have dedicated a number of peace poles throughout the Pacific Northwest. We think it’s only appropriate to continue this effort here in Canby.”
In addition to the monument, which bears the plaque reading “Dedicated to Baker Prairie Middle School in recognition of world peace by the Rotary Club of Canby,” the Peace Pole Project is planting 10 trees in Africa in honor of the school’s efforts.
To learn more about the Peace Pole Project, visit worldpeace.org/peacepoleproject.
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