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Franklin Police Officer Buries Dismantled Firearm As Part of Peace Tree Ceremony

Patrolman Brown from the Franklin Police Department places a dismantled weapon in the hole beneath where the White Pine Tree was planted
Chris Welter
/
WYSO
Patrolman Brown from the Franklin Police Department places a dismantled weapon in the hold beneath where the White Pine Tree was planted

Local activists and a police officer gathered at the Museum of Spiritual Arts in Franklin this weekend to bury a dismantled firearm. The gesture was part of an Iroquois tree planting ceremony to denounce violence and promote living together in harmony.

Each September, Five Rivers Chautauqua buries symbols of violence and then plants a white pine tree to grow on top. The group hosts events on peace and dialogue in the Miami Valley, and started the tree planting six years ago to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace.

Guy Jones, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and a founder of the Miami Valley Council for Native Americans, performed the ceremony. He said it is about letting go.

“When we say ‘wocekiya’, it’s a prayer, and when you do that, what are you doing? You’re letting it go. And because you’re letting it go, there’s no need for forgiveness, it’s gone.”

The ceremony was one of several local events over the weekend commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Also, in a few weeks, Wilmington College will host the virtual 2020 Westheimer Peace Symposium on "Peace and the Nature of War."

Environmental reporter Chris Welter is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.