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Peace Day

Michaela Sims, 9, and her sister Rachael, 7, carry a banner Wednesday evening during the 2016 International Peace Day march in downtown Flagstaff.

International Peace Day Recognition

In 2001 the United Nations General Assembly designated September 21 as International Peace Day. Observed in Flagstaff since 2014, the local committee under the leadership of Rebecca Durrenberger has a full schedule of activities for all ages.

International Peace Day focuses on strengthening the ideals of peace within oneself and reaching out locally, nationally, and internationally. The Dalai Lama states that peace does not mean an absence of conflicts, rather, peace means solving differences and conflicts through peaceful means.

Friday, September 21 will be the dedication of the Peace Pole at Heritage Square. Peace poles made of wood, plastic composition or metal now appear in over 180 countries. Japanese philosopher and spiritual leader, Masahisa Goi (1916-1980), came up with the idea shortly after World War II. Because Flagstaff is a Golden Rule city, the Peace Day Committee thought that it would be appropriate to have a peace pole in a public area.

This year in Flagstaff International Peace Day will be celebrated on Saturday, September 22 at Heritage Square with a venue beginning with a Peace Run/walk at 7 a.m. Other activities include dance performances, music, a labyrinth constructed with canned goods for local food kitchens, and peace promoting craft projects for children. International students from NAU have shared their cultures with informational booths in the past and continue to be active participants in International Peace Day.

Flagstaff metal worker Howie Hearn was selected by the Committee to design a six sided twelve-foot tall peace pole. The message “May Peace Prevail on Earth” appears in English, Spanish, Hopi, Dine’, Japanese and American Sign Language. The words are cut through the metal so light from within will show at night in compliance with Flagstaff’s dark skies ordinance.

The city of Flagstaff has funded the pole with BBB (Bed, Board, Beverage) money. The Hopi Tribal Council, as owners of Heritage Square gave the Committee permission to “plant” the pole on its property. The Committee especially thanks mayor Coral Evans, the Hopi tribe and Hopi tribal chairman Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma, metal fabricator Howie Hearn, Mark DiLucido, Community Design & Redevelopment Administrator for the city and the Peace Frog Company. Many people in Flagstaff have joined forces to make International Peace Day and the Peace Pole dedication a reality and a positive expression of our diversity and unity that defines Flagstaff.

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