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Pocatello, the Gate
to the West


By Janet Marugg

There is peace at our gate. Pocatello, the Gate to the West, settles into the embrace of the Portneuf Range under the watchful eye of Kinport Peak to the west and China Peak to the East. Even the Portneuf River is at peace here. It is lazy and calm until it meets the swifter currents of the mighty Snake. It is not hard to find reflective solitude. The geology of the area promotes a certain quality of peace. And many people living here embrace this peace, as the mountains and sky surround those living here.

Local peace seekers and visitors to the Portneuf valley and Pocatello can easily find events and opportunities to promote and celebrate peace. A Peace Pole stands in front of the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Garfield Avenue. The beautiful turreted brownstone church shares the building with the Pocatello Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and both congregations share the presentation of the peace pole to the Pocatello valley.

Peace poles are erected all over the world as an international symbol for peace. Printed on the pole in most major languages is the message: May Peace Prevail on Earth. The Peace Poles served as reminders for people to act toward peace, both personally and globally.

The Peace Pole Project started in Japan by The World Peace Prayer Society, a non-profit, non-denominational organization founded in 1955 by Masahisa Goi. The project was launched with a dedication to uplift humankind toward harmony rather than conflict. War begins with thoughts of war... peace begins with thoughts of peace. To date, friends and supporters have dedicated over 180,000 poles in 180 countries around the world. You can find more information about peace poles on the website: and the World Peace Prayer Society maintains a bountiful peace promotion website at

In addition to the Peace Poles that speaks for peace, many Pocatelloans move with a purpose for peace in Dances for Universal Peace. Glenn Harvey and Carol Hanson teach the simple melodies and movements at the WholeHealth Cooperative and Wellness Center. The dances focus on participation, not presentation, and encourage focused movement and a unity of body and mind for a sense of both inner and outer peace.

A larger Dance for Universal Peace with a wider regional attendance and participation is held the first weekend in December in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, just thirty miles south of Pocatello. People gather for dancing, food and music from Thursday through Sunday at the Senior Center. There are natural hot springs for soaking after dancing and this is fun for all ages, so bring your family and friends. The Lava Hot Springs dancing schedule and information can be found at For more information about Dances of Universal Peace, visit the web at:

Thinking and acting toward peace may be easier in Pocatello, surrounded by natural beauty and filled with living, loving beings, but for humans everywhere there is still merit in any and all personal effort toward peace. May we all act today toward personal peace and wherever you go may peace be with you.

Janet Marugg is a freelance writer and novelist living peacefully in Pocatello Idaho with her husband and two sons. She writes on a wide variety of topics and can be reached at or through her website at


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