Japan-donated bell, Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ mark U.N. peace event


The ringing of a bell donated by Japan and a performance of John Lennon’s anti-war anthem “Imagine” resounded at United Nations headquarters Friday at an event for the upcoming International Day of Peace.

“Almost 70 years ago, the world community pledged to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said of the period that saw an end to World War II. “As the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations approaches, we must continue to be led by this will for peace.”

The event was attended also by U.N. General Assembly President Sam Kutesa and Japanese Ambassador to the United Nations Motohide Yoshikawa, as well as violinist Midori and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, both of whom serve as U.N. messengers of peace.

A chorus group performed the former Beatle’s song before Ban spoke at the peace bell ceremony ahead of Sunday’s International Day of Peace. Ban rang the bell that hangs from a wooden beam installed in the rose garden. The ceremony finished with the release of a flock of doves.

The bell was cast with coins collected by people from 60 different countries and was donated by the U.N. Association of Japan, a nonprofit tasked with promoting the work of the global organization, in 1954, two years before Tokyo joined the world body.