The Unveiling

My Spanish-language acquisition still proceeds at a glacial pace. Nevertheless, I understood all of the speeches given at this past week’s inauguration of the Peace Pole in Parque Juarez, here in San Miguel de Allende.

The words, whether delivered in English or Spanish, were clear to me and to the seemingly hundreds of people – locals and expats, men, women, and children – who attended: “…Peace…here in San Miguel…in Mexico… and all over the earth… This three-meter-tall pink stone obelisk is a physical reminder that peace must be sought everywhere in the world….”

With the official unveiling of this Peace Pole on August 2, San Miguel de Allende joined roughly 200,000 cities in 194 countries worldwide that have erected similar Peace Poles “in recognition of what can be,” as one of the speakers, Rotary Peace Pole Organizer and cofounder of Camino de la Paz, Tom Schneider, put it. “This pole stands as a silent vigil for peace to prevail on earth,” he said.

Here are some photos from this historic – and peaceful – event:

Tom Schneider speaking to the gathering
Aztec dancers were part of this poignant event
At last, the “veil” is pulled off
Carrying flags from countries all over the world, adults and children chanted “Que la paz prevalenzca en la tierra!”

As children (and adults) carried flags from all the countries of the world and walked around the Peace Pole, the names of those countries were called out one by one, and everyone in the gathering echoed them, punctuating the list every so often with the heartfelt call and response, “Que la paz prevalezca en la tierra!” (May peace prevail on earth!).

“May Peace Prevail on Earth” is the universal message engraved on San Miguel’s newly unveiled Peace Pole in six languages – Spanish, Otomi, Nahuatl, Braille, Mexican Sign Language, as well as English.

I was, frankly, charmed to see that the word “prevail” on the English side was literally carved in stone incorrectly (“preveail”). Let this be a lesson to me (I thought to myself) – always the editor with the red pencil poised – that Mexicans are supremely tolerant, good-natured, peace-loving, and forgiving people; and I should learn to be too. After all, my Spanish will always leave a lot (such as accuracy) to be desired.

~ ~ ~

(For more on the history of the Peace Pole Project, see my earlier post, “Digging for Peace,” published July 16th.)

12 thoughts on “The Unveiling”

  1. Bonnie, that’s a delightful story. And like you, I hope to learn to leave my (mental) red pencil behind!

  2. Lovely, Bonnie. I didn’t even notice the carve-o on prevail!

    To what Tom Schneider said, ““This pole stands as a silent vigil for peace to prevail on earth,” we could add manifest: a silent but manifest vigil for peace. I’m so glad you got to enjoy the whole process, from the digging to the unveiling.

  3. Yes, Bonnie…it was a lovely event and I am happy that San Miguel has so many people praying for peace here and throughout the world. As for the misspelling….and the Braille was upside down…Robin says the pole is modular and can be taken apart to correct the spelling AND to turn over the Braille! A good lesson that nothing is perfect and most things can be corrected by good people taking action.

    1. How nice to know it’s fixable, Pamela dear! I watched the progress each day on my walks in the park as the men were hard at work constructing it. I’m sure it won’t be an easy task to fix the mistakes, but where there’s a will…

  4. Terrific post, Bonnie. Yes, one of San Miguel’s natives’ many charms is how they teach us tolerance. The reverse of how the U.S. treats Mexicans.
    Good that no one’s seen it as a phallic symbol, as NYTimes editors do. (I spoke at SMA’s 2016 & 2017 Lit Salons on the whistle-blowing book I wrote after 30 years as NYT art director.)

  5. Hi Bonnie. I read your book about loosing your daughter many years ago. I still have the book, reread it and think about you a often. I think you have found peace although I’m not sure of the outcome of your great desire to have your daughter in your life. You are the winner here after a very difficult situation.
    I love that I have found a new way to keep up with your life. Be happy.

    1. Dear Sally, How wonderful to get this note from you. Thank you for reading Somewhere Child and for writing to me now. I’m thankful for our connection. Happy New Year to you, Bonnie

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