Bells to ring for peace

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lihu‘e Hongwanji Preschool teachers transfer flames from candles for the virtual candlelight vigil celebrating Peace Day.

KAPA‘A — There will be several events on Kaua‘i celebrating Peace Day that falls on Monday, Sept. 21, said Roberta Yanagawa, the Kaua‘i representative to the 2020 Peace Day Committee headed by Rene Mansho.

Leading up to Sept. 21, Ringing Bells for Peace Day, the Lihu‘e Hongwanji will host a virtual candlelight vigil on the church’s Facebook page and on YouTube on Friday, Sept. 18.

“We had a candlelight vigil in 2019 on Peace Day, and wanted to do it again this year, but realized that it would not be possible due to the current restrictions,” said Carol Valentine of the Lihu‘e Hongwanji. “We are so excited to be able to celebrate Peace Day in this manner during this pandemic.”

At noon on Peace Day, Sept. 21, Honpa Hongwanji Mission Bishop Eric Matsumoto will lead a moment of silence to honor all who have sacrificed for the achievement of peace. This will be followed by the ringing of bells by young people from the local temples, churches, schools and community organizations. The program will be streamed live via Zoom.

“The Kaua‘i Hongwanji temples will be participating in ‘Ring Your Bell for Peace Day,’” Yanagawa said. “We encourage other churches and organizations to join us. They can ring any kind of bell. All they need to do is send in the form for participation, and a Zoom link with directions will be sent to the participants.”

Registration forms, instructions and more details are available online at hongwanjihawaii.com.

The 20th anniversary of the United Nations Resolution on the Program of Action, “Culture of Peace,” starts with the ringing of the Peace Bell at the Hanapepe Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji Worldwide Partnership for Peace from noon until 3 p.m. The opening of Storybook Theatre of Hawai‘i’s West Kaua‘i Distance Learning Studio will be a part of this celebration, where special guest expressions on Peace Live Stream World Wide can be experienced.

Yanagawa said the Junior Young Buddhist Association Peace Banner will also be displayed at the front of the Kapa‘a Honwanji Mission.

Sept. 21 has been the International Day of Peace since it was established by the United Nations in 1981. Hawai‘i became the first state to recognize Peace Day through the efforts of the youth of the Hawai‘i Federation of Junior Young Buddhists Association, who presented a resolution to the Honpa Legislative Assembly requesting that Hawai‘i recognize an official Peace Day in the state.

“Hawai‘i was the first state to recognize Peace Day, thanks to the youth,” Mansho said. “For this reason, we want to acknowledge and include as many youth as we can to show our appreciation and acknowledge them as our best hope for the future of peace in our world.”

The 2020 Peace Day Committee is also reaching out to worldwide peace proponents as well as military service branches, activists and communities everywhere to join in the bell-ringing from their locations.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to bring people together no matter where they are and what their beliefs and politics are,” Mansho said. “We can take a step back, listen to the sound of the bells and, just for a time, think peace.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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