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Japanese Peace Bell

 

The Japanese Peace Bell was presented to the United Nations in June 1954 by the United Nations Association of Japan. It was cast from coins collected by people from 60 different countries including children, and housed in a typically Japanese structure, ressembling a Shinto shrine, made of cypress wood.

It has become a tradition to ring the bell twice a year: on the first day of Spring, at the Vernal Equinox, and on 21 September to coincide with the opening of the General Assembly. In 2002, the General Assembly set 21 September as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace.

In 1994, there was a special ceremony marking the fortieth anniversary of the Japanese Peace Bell. On that occasion, Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali said: "whenever it has sounded, this Japanese Peace Bell has sent a clear message. The message is addressed to all humanity. Peace is precious. It is not enough to yearn for peace. Peace requires work -- long, hard, difficult work."



Copyright 2001 United Nations