By Ann Greene —
With each holiday that Americans observe as we spend the day eating and celebrating with family and friends, there also comes to mind the reason behind such a celebration. Memorial Day lands on every last Monday of May and has been around for the past 147 years. For US citizens, it’s a day to reflect and remember all the armed forces, both men and women, who have bravely sacrificed their lives for the freedoms we enjoy.
On May 11, 1950, the United States Congress approved and amended a joint resolution to honor and remember the fallen soldiers by requesting the President to make a proclamation for all Americans on each Memorial Day. This proclamation is for citizens to use as a time for prayer of permanent peace and to observe the National Moment of Remembrance, to unite together in prayer. President Barack Obama announced the proclamation this year on May 22nd.
Reflecting on those who have been lost in war, another special event this past Memorial Day brought a similar observance into view. In the city of Carson, California, HWPL Day was held in Veteran Park where the fallen were honored with reflection and prayer.
HWPL is short for Heavenly Culture, World Peace and Restoration of Light, a non-profit and non-governmental peace organization under the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, chaired by Man Lee.
The event was a time for leaders in both government and religious organizations to sign a commitment agreement declaring peace instead of violence within the city of Carson.
The first anniversary since the Carson City Council declared HWPL Day on May 25th, the event exhibited an energetic ambiance with a large turn out. HWPL Day set the mood with fancy yellow hats which spelled “peace” in three languages, entertaining cultural performances, as well as the signing of a 16-foot high peace agreement between the national and local leaders involved in law enforcement, religious organizations and the community.
Leaders of many religious affiliations spoke as well including speakers from the Sikh, Islam, Hindu, Baha’i and Catholic, Christian and Buddhist denominations.
City council members of Carson were also present along with democratic Senator Isadore Hall III in which they partook in the signing of the peace agreement, along with short speeches of their gratitude, love, peace and unity to audience members of Memorial Day and of HWPL Day.
Mayor of Carson, Albert Robles, took to the podium and expressed to the crowd the importance of remembering all fallen heroes not just for Memorial Day, but everyday. He also spoke about his pledge for peace.
“There’s no great way to show our appreciation for our fallen heroes than to ironically fight for peace. It’s funny if you think about it—that in order to have peace, we have to fight for it. It should be a natural part of our environment, it should be what all human beings want, but through the Chairman’s efforts, and all of your efforts, we have to make our voices heard, we have to sign the (peace) pledge, we have to fight for peace”.
Mayor Pro Tempore of Carson, Elito M. Santarina expressed his sincere gratitude of the Memorial Day peace gathering as well about the love he felt throughout the afternoon and how grateful he was to have such an event as this one.
“The message of peace out of love is really felt by every single individual that I am with this afternoon. With all honesty and sincerity, this is again a successful memorial peace day. Thank you so very much for holding it here in Carson. I can feel the message of Chairman Lee no doubt in my mind that this is going to be a successful world peace day because of Chairman Lee and the leaders of this organization”.
Senator Isadore Hall III took to the podium as well, speaking with enthusiasm and charisma about not only promoting peace within the city of Carson, but throughout the entire world, doing it together in union and in love.
“I can assure you with the leadership of our great mayor and council and the leadership of our community together, we can stand united and divided we fall but we are not going to fall because we are standing united and this is a great way of demonstrating our unity right here today. That’s what makes our nation so great, that’s what makes our country so incredible because regardless of any socioeconomic background, regardless of one’s race, regardless of one’s choice, we believe in one thing and that is we have to love more as a country, demonstrate love, demonstrate peace, grow our community together so we all prosper together!”
Senator Hall III also stated how much he valued not only Memorial Day, but peace itself. “I will also make it known on the floor of the California State Senate that we were here supporting world peace. What I love about today as we recognize Memorial Day and we pay tribute to all of our veterans who are fighting to this very cause and we remember and reflect on those who have gone before us and whose lives were taken fighting for the very thing that we are celebrating today. The reality is that those folks who have been fighting for peace, they left behind family members. Husbands, wives, daughters, sons, grandparents, because they believe that they were to put their lives on the line to get what we’re fighting for today. That’s why we’re celebrating this today.”
With over 73 branch offices worldwide, HWPL is considered one of the largest peace organization in the world and works with leaders and youth from numerous cultures, beliefs and religions engaging in sustainable and comprehensive solutions for peace.