The community is invited to view striking new plans for the International Friendship Bell Peace Pavilion and to learn of its new location in Bissell Park at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 17, at Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ Pollard Auditorium, which is at 1000 ORAU Way.
The International Friendship Bell Advisory Committee will host the community gathering to unveil the Peace Pavilion and plaza design for the bell’s new location in Bissell Park. The bell, an Oak Ridge icon now sitting in silence, will bring its message of peace to the tens of thousands of visitors expected to visit the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a press release said. Next steps are being taken to position the bell to ring again.
Ziad Demian, architect who designed the new Peace Pavilion and its surrounding plaza, will bring to life, in images and narrative, the real and symbolic importance of the bell that has become an important icon of Oak Ridge. The new pavilion will immediately become a community landmark and contribute to Bissell Park’s “sense of place,” the press release said.
Each time the striker sounds the bell, a fusion of personal and universal experience takes place. The bell is larger than just a sound-making object—it has profound meaning for residents and for visitors alike. This new design with its comforting arrangement of seating, walkways and gardens is well suited to the purpose of the bell as a peaceful gathering place.
In 1959, then-Congressman Howard Baker wrote: “Oak Ridge can never become just another attractive American city. Its fame and its honors based upon past achievements are already too great for this, and its heavy responsibilities for the future of both America and the world preclude the possibility of a quiet, completely normal existence.” Senator Baker realized then that Oak Ridge’s heritage and future were interlocked. In bringing this bell back to life and establishing the Peace Pavilion, Oak Ridge continues to accept its responsibility to the future.
The Advisory Committee—co-chairs Alan Tatum and Pat Postma, and Jon Hetrick, Ray Smith, Kay Brookshire, Tom Row, Shigeko Uppuluri, and her son, Ram Uppuluri—has worked to determine the design for the new Peace Pavilion and the location that will best serve the community and the new national park. The committee now will encourage community participation in the project.
The community is invited to attend the community gathering to learn how to become an integral part of the project to ring the bell again.
“The Oak Ridge icon will be even more prominent in the future,” the press release said. “Come join others who are passionate about the bell!”
This press release was submitted by Kay Brookshire.
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