Veterans for Peace members and locals gathered at New Northside Baptist Church on Sunday to unveil a peace pole.
The pole, paid for by the St. Louis chapter of Veterans for Peace, was placed on the east side of the church which is located on Goodfellow Boulevard in St. Louis City. Veterans for Peace is a St. Louis based global organization of “military veterans and allies who construct a culture of peace by using their experiences and their voices,” said the VFP website. The peace pole is five foot tall and has the message “May peace prevail on earth” printed on all four sides in four different languages: English, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.
“There’s an old Indian proverb about which wolf are we going to feed,” said VFP member Tom Abeln in a speech at the ceremony. “We all have those two wolves and every one of us is capable of going either way. We can go toward aggression or hatred but there is another wolf inside of us that is our better angel. It’s the helping side and I think it’s a question of which wolf we are going to feed.”
Abeln said he hoped the peace pole would last a long time.
“Maybe someone will be driving down Goodfellow and see the pole and then something will change in their hearts,” he said. “We can’t afford to do what the Defense Department does, so we put up a peace pole.”
Veterans for Peace National Executive Director Michael McPherson also spoke.
“Veterans for Peace talks about peace at home and peace abroad,” McPherson said. “The reason why we talk about this is that there is no way to separate what is happening in foreign policy and what’s happening in domestic policy. There is no way to separate the mentality of dropping bombs on poor people around the world, it’s the same mentality of not wanting to provide healthcare for people here at home and not provide money for education or invest in infrastructure. This is important to work to create peace here in our communities and abroad.”
New Northside Baptist Church Pastor Rodrick Burton presided over the ceremony. President of the Beran Missionary Baptist Association Claudia Fowler, New Northside Assistant Pastor Edward Perry and Hope and Glory Pastor Jimi Gwynn delivered prayers in the name of peace. St. Louis City resident Alison Cole sang “God Bless America” after the peace prayers.