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Peace Day celebrations around Kaua‘i

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Tiffany Gampong checks the editing screen during personality exchanges for peace, Monday at the opening of the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning facility at the Storybook Theatre.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Tiffany Gampong gets help from Mark Jeffers in framing the creation of tsuru, Monday during the Peace Day expressions done at the opening of the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning Center in the Storybook Theatre.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Dr. Robert Zelchovsky rolls tape while Jim Jung relays the saga of Sadako Sasaki, Monday during the opening of the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning facility at the Storybook Theatre.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    St. Catherine School principal Mary Ann Bode, Father Anthony Rapozo, students Shania Rosa, Ashlynn Souza, Bodhi Czarske, Gabriel Kelley, Father William Tulua, Carol Aki, Kevin Clark, former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Geri Guino, and Terri Mansfield celebrate the planting of a Peace Pole at the St. Catherine School, Monday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Father Anthony Rapozo gets help from St. Catherine School student Gabriel Kelley in blessing the Peace Pole, Monday as Rev. William Tulua, Carol Aki and former Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. watch.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., representing the Community, inserts peace prayers into the 8-foot Peace Pole, Monday as Kevin Clark and Terri Mansfield help during the blessing of the Peace Pole installed at the St. Catherine School.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Emilia Knudsen takes her turn sounding the historic Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple’s bell, Monday during the Peace Day observance.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Gerald Hirata of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple sounds the temple’s kansho against the backdrop of Peace Day flags donated to the church by Jim Jung, Monday.

Former mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. represented the Community, Monday during the blessing of the Peace Pole done in observing Peace Day at the St. Catherine School.

“Peace is one word: aloha,” Carvalho said, reiterating the message he delivered during his tenure as the mayor for Kaua‘i. “People who live the values of A-L-O-H-A contribute to Peace.”

Following the blessing of the Peace Pole contributed by Terri Mansfield, Carvalho placed more than 300 peace prayers that the church received into the hollowed eight-foot aluminum pole bearing messages of peace in eight different languages, including Bishop Larry Silva’s “May the Peace of Jesus be in our hearts.”

“Following World War II, Japanese peacemaker Masahisa Goi, a poet, writer, and singer, dedicated his life to humanity,” Mansfield said. “Goi said, ‘We are facing the age where the politics of the world must be carried out by each individual. Every individual who repeats the words — May Peace Prevail on Earth — thus becomes a great force for realizing peace in the world.’ This phrase blossomed into the Peace Pole movement we see today.”

St. Catherine School principal Mary Ann Bode delivered Mayor Derek Kawakami’s peace prayer.

“The definition of Peace is tranquility — the freedom from disturbance,” Kawakami’s word floated on the warm sunshine as St. Catherine School children enjoyed the outdoor recess. “This word could mean many things to different people, but when I think of peace, it is the lack of conflict within myself, my friends, and family, our county, state and nation. With that, my prayer for peace is that we all find a way to agree with some things (even if we agree to disagree), we could all work in that direction together.”

Mansfield said her husband and herself saw their first Peace Pole in 1997 in front of a store in Hanalei.

“In addition to Hanalei, Peace Poles can be found all over Kaua‘i, including at Lydgate Park and Kamalani Playground, the Kaua‘i Community College, Kapa‘a Middle School, the Sparky Matsunaga International Children’s Peace Garden in the Storybook Theatre in Hanapepe, Anaina Hou Community Park, the United Church of Christ in Kapa‘a, Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church, the Bullshed Restaurant, and private homes,” she said. “Each of the 10 University of Hawai‘i campuses has a peace pole, and there are more than 200,000 Peace Poles in over 180 countries on Earth.”

As the clock ticked closer to noon, the designated hour for a moment of silence, Gerald Hirata of the Kaua‘i Soto Zen Temple gathered his handful of helpers, preparing to begin the five-minute “Ring Your Bell for Peace Day.” Hirata tracked the day’s events that were streamed live from the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai‘i in Honolulu, impressed with the number of people logged onto the website surpassing 140 registrations.

“I should have brought my small apple bell,” said Kay Koike, one of Hirata’s helpers. “Someone gave it to me when I was a teacher. It has a nice high pitch.”

Kendra, Kelson and Leily Suga came rolling up with Blanche Suga, being joined by Emilia Knudsen who drove in from Kapahi for the event.

“They just got out of class,” Blanche said. “They can help ring the bell, but they need to be back at the computers by 12:15 p.m. for the next class. It’s a good thing we live close.”

As the final notes faded on the blowing winds, Hirata packed everything in haste to get to the Storybook Theatre that opened the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning facility that housed special community personalities taking advantage of Voices for Peace that was being aired on both Facebook and YouTube through the newly-dedicated center.

In addition to “giving voice to our place,” Mark Jeffers of the Storybook Theatre said the four ways the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning facility will be used are for teaching, webinars, Zoom meetings and oral histories.

“The story is about Tiffany Gampong,” Jeffers said, pointing out the monitor editor who directed Dr. Robert Zelchovsky with the afternoon’s lineup that included Jim Jung relaying the story of Sadako Sasaki, a little girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

“Tiffany is about the small-town girl who did good,” Jeffers said. “She suffers from a spinal condition and is confined to a wheelchair. But she learned media at Ke Kula O Ni‘ihau Hawaiian charter school, and we at Storybook Theatre just hired her as the media editor and social media person for the West Kaua‘i Distance Learning center. Our next big push is the celebration of Sparky Matsunaga’s birthday on Oct. 8.”

•••

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

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