Planting trees is a wonderful way to care for the planet and the environment around us. When we join together to plant trees to symbolize countries and communities working together for peace, it is even more inspiring. On June 11, the Ohio Chapter of WFWP joined the International Voluntary Organizations (IVO), in a WFWP 25th Anniversary Celebration at the International Peace Garden in Columbus, Ohio.
For a little background on the project, the International Peace Garden united into a city-wide project called The Colors of Columbus in 2012 under the guidance of the Mayor and City Council. Each year in June, new trees are planted to represent countries of both recent immigrants and those who came before. The trees all blossom near the same time of the year making them a collage of color.
Dr. Marlinda Iyer, was instrumental in starting the Peace Garden 25 years ago as well as being the President of the Columbus International Festival and the Asian Festival over the years. She also served as the United Nations Representative in Columbus.
Representatives from the City Council and the Office of the Judiciary gave presentations followed by musical performances from several nations as well as the local Appalachian community. WFWP Ohio had noticed that there was not a tree representing Korea, so the chapter offered to plant a tree in honor of the Founders of WFWP, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon and her late husband Rev Dr. Sun Myung Moon. The Ohio WFWP chairwoman, Nadya Hinson, also planted one in honor of her grandparents who immigrated to the Midwest from Slovakia in 1914.
An interesting coincidence is that at the same time that trees were being planted in Columbus, at the very large rally for the new Youth Federation for Peace in Thailand, they announced a project to plant trees around the world! WFWP founder Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon is devoted to ensuring that the environment of this planet will be healthy for future generations. Our two new trees on Columbus Peace Garden are a small step in fulfilling this dream.
From this gathering, discussions began on how to bring the message of peace and reconciliation to Columbus through group meetings and a Bridge of Peace event later in the year. In addition to WFWP’s contribution to the tree-planting, Universal Peace Federation representatives assisted at the event and the promotion of further working together in Ohio.