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Sustainable Development

Back to listApr 23, 2009

Local SGI-USA Members Donate Peace Garden in Southern California, USA

090423x_moreno_garden1.jpg Neighborhood preschoolers participate in the event

On April 23, 2009, some 60 SGI-USA Riverside Region members, city officials and citizens planted ten cherry trees in the newly established Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda Peace Garden, located on the grounds of the Moreno Valley Conference and Recreation Center in southern California, USA. The garden, which will eventually have 200 cherry trees, with ten new trees planned each year, will be available to the residents of Moreno Valley and surrounding local areas.

The event was officiated by the Mayor Pro Tem Bonnie Flickinger, Moreno Valley Parks and Community Services Director Michael McCarty and members of the city council and commissions. Some 30 local preschoolers welcomed the participants with "The Garden Song" before they participated in the groundbreaking with toy shovels and water buckets.

090423x_moreno_garden2.jpg Mayor Pro Tem Bonnie Flickinger

Ms. Flickinger said that while cherry trees may appear plain and barren during winter months, they blossom with beautiful flowers each spring. This cycle, she said, represents the victory of persevering through difficult times. "The symbolism of the cherry trees will remind us that we have experienced hardship and difficulty numerous times throughout history, and we have not only endured, but also emerged stronger and more striking than ever."

Ms. Flickinger then praised SGI-USA for promoting the principle that true happiness results from each person's effort to manifest his or her highest potential. "The Peace Garden," she said, "will serve as a reminder of this for years to come."

Moreno Valley was among the first areas where the SGI movement took root in the USA in the mid-1950s. The peace garden and the cherry trees, donated by SGI-USA, commemorate and pay tribute to the early SGI-USA pioneers, many of whom were Japanese wives of American servicemen living at March Air Force Base, located in Moreno Valley. The garden pays tribute to SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's contributions to building peace and acknowleges Mr. Ikeda and Mrs. Ikeda's consistent support and encouragement to SGI-USA members over the years.

090423x_moreno_garden3.jpg SGI-USA Riverside Region members celebrate the opening of the Daisaku and Kaneko Ikeda Peace Garden

[Adapted from an article in the May 29, 2009 issue of the World Tribune, SGI-USA; photos courtesy of World Tribune]