Rotary seeks to promote peace through pole on Vero Beach property

VERO BEACH — Rotary International is asking the City of Vero Beach to give peace a chance by allowing the organization permission to install a Peace Pole somewhere on city property.

The group went before the Vero Beach Parks and Recreation Commission earlier this month, asking for its support of the concept.

 

“Vero Beach is a very warm and welcoming community,” Rotarian Lisa Ferrari Desmond said.

Rotary International does not have a preference for where the pole might be placed, she said, though the group has suggested Vero Beach City Hall or one of the city’s various parks.

“It would send quite a message,” Commission member Debbie-Kay Whitehouse said of having the pole at City Hall, given the “many factions” that pass through the government building.

The pole’s height could range from 5 feet to 10 feet tall and have four or six sides. The message inscribed upon it would read: “May Peace Prevail on Earth” and be written in various languages.

The pole, too, could be made of any number of materials ranging from wood to aluminum.

The Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously supported the concept and voted to send a letter of recommendation to the Vero Beach City Council for consideration. The commission did not recommend a site or the material the pole should be constructed of.

“The material will depend on where it’s placed,” Desmond told the commission.

Whitehouse told Desmond that the Vero Beach City Council could choose to dictate the material for the pole and then find an appropriate location for it.

If the Vero Beach City Council were to approve the Peace Pole, it would be the second one in the city.

There are approximately 200,000 such poles spread around the world in about 200 countries, according to PeacePoleProject.org.

Community Church of Vero Beach recently installed its own Peace Pole, dedicating it on Oct. 3, World Communion Sunday.

Members of the congregation who had traveled overseas on missions trips funded the $1,800 copper pole.

“It’s a wonderful piece of art,” said Rev. Robert Baggott.

The church’s pole was specially crafted to have five sides. The message of peace is inscribed in five languages, including Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese and English, representing the countries the missionaries had gone.

Rev. Baggott said he would welcome a second Peace Pole in the City of Vero Beach.

“I would love for everyone to have a Peace Pole,” he said, including other churches and schools. “They’re very reflective.”

The reverend explained that the church’s pole serves as a site for calm reflection – a place for visitors to take a moment and think about peace, not just globally but internally as well.

“Peace means many things,” Rev. Baggott said, “not just the absence of violence.”

The Vero Beach City Council does not meet again until December. Whether Rotary International’s Peace Pole request will be on the agenda for the next meeting has not yet been determined.

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