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Keeping the flame alive

The World Peace Flame is a symbol. By itself, it can’t bring about world peace.

But to the extent that it inspires those who would work to further the cause of peace around the globe, it has value. A perpetual flame is an appropriate expression of the Ashland community’s dedication to peaceful coexistence.

The first World Peace Flame monument was dedicated on April 18, 2002 outside the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. Since then, 11 more Peace Flame monuments have been installed in cities around the world: six in the Netherlands, two in Belgium, one in Australia, one in Wales and one in Memphis, Tennessee, at the National Civil Rights Museum, on the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

In September, the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission plans to install the second flame in the United States on Sept. 21 at the Thalden Pavilion on the campus of Southern Oregon University. A fundraising concert was held Wednesday night at the Ashland Unitarian Fellowship, and a second is planned Aug. 18 at the Historic Ashland Armory.

Beyond the symbolic value of the monuments, the World Peace Flame Foundation conducts humanitarian projects around the world, providing medical treatment camps in India, education programs for school children in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Australia, and sponsoring detraumatisation programs in conflict regions such as the Caucasus, Northern Ireland, the Sudan and South Africa.

Ashland is an appropriate site for the flame, and the project deserves support.