Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peace Poles, 5th & Montgomery

Barring the unexpected, this is the closest I'm going to have to a holiday blog post this year. Which is fine; I'm not much of a holiday person, and most years (other than 2010) I don't post anything even remotely Christmassy. But this sort of seemed to fit the bill, at least in the generic peace-on-earth, goodwill-to-all sense. On the Portland State campus, near the corner of 5th & Montgomery, is a trio of poles inscribed with "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in various languages. The sign next to them says they're "Peace Poles", donated by the PSU class of 2001-2002. Apparently the PSU poles are part of a global effort that's been erecting similar poles around the globe for several decades now, including several across Oregon. I had no idea this was something that existed, surprisingly. Because it's Christmas, I'm just going to approve of the general sentiment and not snark at length about hippies or whether peace poles do any actual good. So, ok, the poles technically aren't a Christmas thing at all, and I don't mean to ruin the holiday spirit or anything, but the movement behind peace poles was a response to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the PSU poles commemorate 9/11. Still, the sign next to the PSU poles doesn't mention any of that, so you're free to interpret it in a more upbeat sort of way if you prefer, which I do.

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