Tag Archives: peace pole

Michael Pontoriero’s Peace Pole

A couple of years ago, Michael Pontoriero wanted to join a rally. But it took place during school hours.

Yet the thought of people gathering for a common purpose — and to use their voices to advocate for ideas that matter to them — at Staples High School intrigued him.

Michael remembered seeing “peace poles” at Town Hall, and on college tours.  They say “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” in a variety of languages. The first was in Japan, in 1955.

He did some research, and learned there are 200,000 around the world — including Hiroshima, the Pyramids, and the Pentagon.

“Who doesn’t want peace?” he wondered. He vowed to bring one to Staples.

The project took a year to complete. He worked with Dennis Wong of Westport’s Sunrise Rotary Club, and Bill Haas of the United Nations Association of Southwestern Connecticut.

One view of the Staples High School peace pole …

With principal Stafford Thomas’ okay, the pole was planted in Staples’ main courtyard.

“The goal is to promote peace,” Michael — about to complete his junior year — says. “It’s where all students, faculty and staff can rally together.”

The peace pole will be officially dedicated tomorrow (Wednesday, June 1, 9 a.m.).

… and another. (Photos/Dan Woog)

Michael is already thinking ahead. Wouldn’t it be great, he asks, to have peace poles at every Westport school?

And at Westport’s favorite rallying spot: the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

That would complete an interesting circle. It’s where Michael could not go to raise his voice a couple of years ago.

Because he had school.

Peace Pole?

3rd Selectman Helen Garten has performed many roles in the Marpe administration.

Her latest: detective.

She’s been asked to sniff out the story behind the “peace pole” that stands at the entrance to Town Hall.

Peace pole

“No one I’ve asked can recall how or when it got there,” she says. “Many people have never noticed it before.”

Including, most definitely, me.

If you know when, why and how that sign got there, click “Comments.”

PS: The Westport Sunrise Rotary’s “Make Peace” booth at the Mini-Maker Faire had its own, similar peace pole.

PPS: September 21 was the International Day of Peace.