UT-Battelle has announced a $150,000 gift toward construction of a new Peace Pavilion to house the International Friendship Bell located in Oak Ridge’s Alvin K. Bissell Park.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason presented a check to Pat Postma and Alan Tatum, co-chairs of the International Friendship Bell Citizens Advisory Committee, during a Thursday evening ceremony at Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Pollard Auditorium.
The check presentation was the start of a public campaign to raise $750,000 for the project. A total of $416,000 has either already been raised or pledged.
“The International Friendship Bell is an important symbol of the heritage and future of Oak Ridge,” Mason said. “UT-Battelle is proud to support the construction of a new Peace Pavilion that will make the bell a focal point for the city and for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”
The International Friendship Bell, which was installed at A.K. Bissell Park in 1996, is 8,000 pounds of bronze cast with images that symbolize the peace and friendship shared by Japan and Oak Ridge. The new Peace Pavilion will enlarge the public gathering area around the bell.
With the recent establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which includes several sites in Oak Ridge, the International Friendship Bell and Peace Pavilion is expected to be among the significant tour stops for visitors interested in the city’s history.
The idea of the Japanese-style bell originated with Oak Ridge residents Ram and Shigeko Uppuluri from India and Japan, respectively, as a symbol of unity between the United States and Japan and to serve as a monument to the post-war reconciliation and peace between the two nations.
The bronze bell is nearly seven feet tall and five feet wide, designed by an Oak Ridge artist and cast by a family foundry in Kyoto, Japan.
In the words of the late Alvin Weinberg, former ORNL director, noted nuclear physicist and advocate for the bell, “I hope it will become a shrine for the many visitors who, by their pilgrimage to the Friendship Bell, will be participating in the sanctification of Hiroshima and the permanence of the tradition of nonuse.”
Oak Ridge was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II to help make the world’s first nuclear weapons. Uranium enriched in Oak Ridge fueled the first atomic bomb used in wartime; it was dropped over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945. Japan surrendered shortly after a second bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.
More information about the International Friendship Bell and the fundraising campaign is available at http://friendshipbell.com/.
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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