While spending a weekend in Rosarito, Baja California my family and I happen to come upon a tall, white pole standing some yards in front of the Hotel Calafia. From afar it seemed like there were writing of black letters painted on all four sides of the square pole. Thinking it to be another monument to long-dead heroes or a sign erected to commemorate a significant event in Baja California history, we quickly rushed towards the pole to stand in front of it and pose for the cameras.
A few days later, we left Baja California and went back home to Houston to get back to our work and schools. One day during our first week back in the States, I picked up the pictures I had printed from our trip to Baja at a photo developing station I pass by on my way from home. The moment I parked th car in the driveway I flipped through all the pictures while walking towards the front door.
When I came to the pictures of us standing and grinning in front of the monument at the Hotel Calafia in Rosarito, I noticed something I did not see during the time we were there. The pole-like monument had words written on them on all sides. What was written on one side was this “May Peace Prevail on Earth”. On another side visible to the camera was written “Paz a Todos Los Hombres”. I assume this to be the Mexican translation of the first phrase because of the familiar word Paz meaning peace and I learned this word while staying in La Paz, Baja California.
I felt a tinge of shame for not paying attention to what was written on the pole and not even venturing to find out what it was for. All I thought was it was just another tourist spot where we could stand front of to take our souvenir pictures. I have always valued the things one learns from experience which is why I love traveling and trying new things. I guess the excitement and pleasure derived from traveling can sometime overshadow the ideas we should have learned from the experience and we are left with memories of fun but no new lesson to keep.
After that, I looked up the monument in the Internet to find out what event or person or idea it was made to commemorate. I found out it was not your usual monument and that it was called a peace pole. This was the very first time I have ever heard of such a thing. Apparently, way back in 1955 after the Second world War a group in Japan called the Peace Prayers Society took the initiative to start the Peace Pole Project. At the moment, I read that there are more than 250,00 peace poles planted all over the world. Even the North Pole and the deserts of Egypt have peace poles standing proudly there. And Luckily, we have encountered one in Rosarito, Baja California although we were not aware at the time of what it was and what it signifies.
I recently erected a peace pole which I built with my family in an empty space in our garden. Just like the one in Rosarito, there is also a hopeful prayer written at its sides saying “Paz a Todos Los Hombres”.