There are Peace Poles in 195 countries around the world. On April 20, 2018, Vista’s Peace Pole was dedicated with a ceremony by adding it to the downtown area on Main Street, across the street from the Village Café Restaurant. The eight foot high pole is inscribed with the phrase “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight different languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Samoan, Persian, and our written language in Braille.
The ceremony was started by Public Arts Commissioner Sarah Spinks. She spoke of the process to have the pole placed and the role that the Commission played. She was followed by Lyn Berry, who shared her peace pole story. “I first saw a Peace Pole at my mother’s church in Sun City West, Arizona, more than 20 years ago. At the time, I was teaching IB/AP English at Vista High School, and I advised the Peacemakers Club. We earned enough money to purchase a pole, and we installed it at the front of campus in a small rose garden. The eight languages on the pole, saying “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, represented our student body at the time.
Then in 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the United Methodist Church of Vista installed a Peace Pole on campus, 490 South Melrose. We were joined by representatives of the Jewish, Roman Catholic and Muslim religions for a ceremony.
Fast forward to 2016.
The original Peace Pole at Vista High School had been removed. I didn’t know why. Upon investigation, I found out a serious case of dry-rot caused its deterioration. I worked with David Hanlon, teacher of the Character Leaders program, to purchase a new pole. We installed it in early May 2017 as part of a May Day celebration.
In September 2017, during Peace Month, the United Methodist Church did a fund-raising campaign, and we earned enough to purchase two Peace Poles. This year, we gave one to Imam Yasser Kassem and his congregation at Masjid Al-Ittehad in Vista, and today we dedicated a Peace Pole to the City of Vista. Each pole has languages representing the community.
I also have a Peace Pole in my front yard peace garden at my home. I chose languages that are significant in my history and experience.
We order the poles from the World Peace Prayer Society, www.peacepoleproject.org. They estimate that there are more than 200,000 Peace Poles planted in 195 countries.
We are a congregation that hopes the Peace Poles symbolize the desire in each of us, no matter what our background or jobs or religions, to be peacemakers. We are proud that the City of Vista is committed to peace.”
Councilmember Joe Green represented the City of Vista, and Imam Yasser Kassim from Vista Mosque, shared their reflections on peace in the world. Reverend Doctor, Leigh Ann Shaw from the United Methodist Church of Vista, lead those that gathered in a prayer of peace.
We want to thank the Public Works staff, Cirilo Mariscal and Mario Serrato for installing the pole.