All Things You Should Know about “The Peace Bell”

This article was published on Project Child Indonesia’s website on 22 September 2021 with the same title.

Source: UN Photo/Manuel Elías

International Peace Day, or well known as World Peace day is an event held annually on 21st September, designated by the United Nations. This event is dedicated to world peace, and especially the absence of war and violence. First celebrated in 1981, and until now has kept many nations together to remember the importance of peace.

To celebrate this day, there is a tradition of ringing a bell called “The Peace Bell”, which is displayed in front of the Secretariat Building at New York’s UN headquarters. This bell was donated by the United Nations Association of Japan in 1954 and created by Chiyoji Nakagawa, an executive member of the United Nations Association of Japan. They successfully created this bell with the support of Benjamin Cohen, U.N. Deputy Director-General.

Nakagawa, who is experiencing World War II by being a Japanese military soldier, has faced the most traumatic experiences in his life and this makes him decide to commit to peace for his life. In order to pursue his mission for world peace, he collected coins from 65 countries and was also given nine gold coins from Pope Pius XII when he traveled to the 6th UN General Assembly in Paris in 1951, to create this bell where Japan applied to join the United Nations. With the total amount of coins at 112.5 kg, he made an enormous bell, three feet tall and weighing 256 pounds. Inscribed on the bell eight Kanji letters “世界絶対平和萬歳 (sekai zettai heiwa banzai)” that contain the message, “Long live absolute world peace” and the sweet point of the bell, where a wooden hammer strikes, was decorated with a laurel leaf, a sign of peace and protection.

They have traditionally rung it only twice a year. On the first day of Spring, to symbolize nature’s harmony and to reaffirm the world’s commitment to peace and environmental stewardship. Then, exactly six months later, on September 21st, to commemorate the International Day of Peace. When the bell rings, it is intended to send a message to all of humanity: “Peace is priceless. It is insufficient to wish for peace. Peace demands hard work — long, hard, difficult work.”

Nowadays, peace is not only shown in the absence of war and violence. For now generations, we are facing another form of war; hatred, refusal of others, discrimination. This form is just a tiny part of modern war cause if we look on a bigger scale, we also still fight with lower education, lack of literacy, and so on. With the presence of the peace bell and the commemoration of this worldwide day, we hope that we will continue to struggle against the various forms of modern war.

References

Association for the Preservation of UN Peace Bell. (n.d.). Peace-Bell.Com. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://peace-bell.com/pb_e/

Central Docents. (n.d.). World Peace Bell Rings Out Message for Peace. Los Angeles Public Library. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://www.lapl.org/collections-resources/blogs/lapl/world-peace-bell-rings-out-message-peace

United Nations. (n.d.). International Day of Peace. Retrieved August 18, 2021, from https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace

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