Community celebrates International Day of Peace
University Lutheran center dedicates Fargo’s first Peace Pole
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 13:09
The community celebrated International Day of Peace with the dedication of a new Peace Pole, a monument with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” inscribed in several languages, on Friday evening at the University Lutheran Center.
The Peace Pole has eight different languages inscribed on it: Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, German, Spanish, English, Braille and Lakota. The University Lutheran Center board wanted the Peace Pole to be welcoming to all.
The peace committee put a lot of thought into the choice of each language inscribed on the pole, said Laura Oster-Aaland, a University Lutheran Center board member.
Chinese, Arabic, Hindi and German were chosen because those languages are some of the most prominent international student populations, and Lakota was chosen for its place as one of the original languages in North Dakota.
The committee also wanted to recognize those with disabilities in the community, with Braille as their representative. Last, English was chosen for its place as a primary language, and Spanish as a language spoken very commonly in all of the states.
The night was windy and cold, but that did not stop the group from celebrating the day and the dedication. A representative of each language spoke the phrase, and the celebration of peace ended with a chant of “May Peace Prevail on Earth” by everyone in the group.
Gongjun Shi was chosen as a representative to speak the phrase in Chinese. A graduate student at NDSU, Shi studies genomics and bioinformatics and has been here since 2009. Shi was happy and excited to be part of the ceremony “Because I love peace,” he said.
“The reality…is a little bit cruel, even nowadays, and we just want everyone to know this phrase,” Shi said.
After the dedication of the Peace Pole, the NDSU Alumni Center hosted an event of peace with music and readings from sacred texts.
Kristin Majkrzak provided music; she sang “Song of the Open Door” in Russian, as well as three other songs. Ten speakers shared readings sacred to their beliefs on peace, such as readings from the works of Dalai Lama, Gandhi, Maya Angelou, and Writings of the Baha’i Faith.
Majkrzak led the audience in the song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” to end the event.
In August 1945, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in the final stages of World War II. Ten years later, Masahisa Goi dedicated his life to spreading the message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in response to the event. On Sept. 21, 1982, the first International Day of Peace was celebrated.
The Peace Pole project was proposed to the Lutheran Center Board by the Hunger and Justice Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Oster-Aaland said. The Lutheran Center was chosen because “they thought this would be a wonderful, prominent place,” she said.