Peace Pole receives icy receives icy reception in Twentynine Palms
Veterans For Peace has dedicated a Peace Pole outside of the Cathedral City Library, Desert Mirage High School in Thermal, Saul Martinez Elementary School in Mecca, Desert Hot Springs High School, Shea’s Veteran Center in Desert Hot Springs and the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C., but the city of Twentynine Palms said no.
“None of these Peace Poles have been controversial,” said Tom Swann Hernandez, founder and president of Veterans for Peace Jon Castro Chapter 19. “Approval was fast and easy. Cathedral City refurbished their Peace Pole and made it the centerpiece for the remodeled front entrance of their library.”
The city of Twentynine Palms is the first agency to say Peace Poles are not compatible with their park system. The decision was forwarded to me by the city manager.
City Manager Frank J. Luckino told Uken Report that Veterans for Peace wanted to place the Peace Pole in Veterans Park, which is reserved to “honor and thank those who served our country.”
Veterans for Peace does a lot of advocacy work, which is really outside the mission of Veterans Park, Luckino said.
In February Randy Schecher, Rick Tice and Swann Hernandez took the Peace Pole to Twentynine Palms City Hall and met with the city manager and community development director. They seemed pleased and suggested that we add two more languages to the pole, Swann Hernandez said.
The current pole says “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in English, Spanish, Hebrew and Arabic. The Twentynine Palms officials asked if we could add the Tagalog language because of the many Filipino residents in the city. They also asked if we could add the local indigenous language.
“We told them we could get that done,” Swann Hernandez said.
The trio left the Peace Pole with the two city leaders. The City Manager said he would present the Peace Pole to the City Arts Commission, the Parks Commission and seek input from the local Marine Corps Base. The city manager told us he did not think it was necessary for us to testify before these city commissions, Swann Hernandez said.
Apparently one of the commissions rejected the pole. The City Manager did not offer any details about the decision.
“I am left to speculate the reason behind their decision,”‘ Swann Hernandez said. “I believe that someone researched Veterans for Peace and decided we are too progressive or woke for their city. Veterans for Peace’s primary mission is to abolish wars and resolve conflicts peacefully. If stopping wars is a message that is not compatible in Twentynine Palms, then it begs the question if starting wars or glorifying war is in fact compatible with the values of Twentynine Palms.”
Some conservatives believe opposing wars is a contradiction of the purpose of the military, Swann Hernandez said. They believe that when our military trains for warfare then the soldiers are eager for war. This is false.
“We regret that Twentynine Palms rejected our proposal,” Swann Hernandez said. “There are no hard feelings. We will not appeal this decision to the City Council. We will find a new home for this Peace Pole.”
More than 200,000 Peace Poles that have been dedicated in more than 180 countries on Earth.
- 2023 Peace Pole: Tom Swann Hernandez