Rejuvenating the hopes of the sixties
Santa Barbara, Yalta Mayors to Relight Eternal Flame

Daily Nexus

University of California, Santa Barbara

Tuesday, October 13, 1987

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UCSB student Karan Moore examines the eternal flame outside Buchanan Hall

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"We are rejuvenating the hopes of the relighting this monument for the actual cause of world peace."
--- David Crockett Williams III

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Santa Barbara, Yalta Mayors to Relight Eternal Flame

By Lynn Loechin

UCSB's eternal flame monument, presented to the school by the graduating class of 1969, will be relit by the mayors of Santa Barbara and Yalta, Russia, in a ceremony on October 30.

American Peace Movement organizer David Crockett Williams III hopes to bring the campus community together for this gesture of world peace. "If the students...get behind the idea of relighting it, the activity of working toward getting it relit would bring everybody together in the cause of world peace in a very sort of magical way," Williams said.

Williams was inspired by a Japanese teacher whose idea was to build peace pagodas around the world. "When I saw the monument on campus, and it has a plaque to Martin Luther King and John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, I thought, well, this is a kind of memorial peace monument; all three of these men stood, in their own way, for the cause of world peace, and here is an eternal flame...and it's out. I thought to myself, "It should be lit,'" he explained.

In 1984, while coordinating the annual Isla Vista Fall Festival, Williams led a prayer for peace at the eternal flame monument. He promoted the idea of relighting the flame and in January 1985 then-Chancellor Robert Huttenback had the flame relit. However, the wind continually blew it out, so eventually the gas was turned off.

Proposals are now being made by the UCSB facilities management department and the political activist group Scientists and Engineers for Responsible Technology regarding a way to keep the flame lit. One idea was to put an electric spark on the flame so that when blown out, the flame would automatically be relit. Another proposal utilized a sort of hurricane lamp to completely defeat the wind.

Williams proposed the idea of the mayors of Santa Barbara and Yalta relighting the flame together at a Sister City Association meeting during the summer. "(Santa Barbara) Mayor (Sheila) Lodge liked the idea of relighting the flame as "a symbolic gesture, and a very appropriate one." Reflecting on her recent trip to the Soviet Union as part of the Sister City Program, Lodge said that "people are people everywhere. They have the same desires that we do. They are particularly well aware of what war means," referring to the Soviet Union's loss of 20 million people during World War II.

"They are clearly very anxious for peace," Lodge continued.

"It...makes me think of something that President (Dwight) Eisenhower once said, that 'The people want peace so badly that the governments are going to have to get out of their way and let them have it."

When discussing the peace movement in the Soviet Union, Lodge explained that the "desire for peace is a given, but you don't have the kind of activity (there) that you have here, when people protest the development of Star Wars, for example."

Although the declaration has yet to be ratified, Yalta was suggested as a sister city for Santa Barbara partly because of the many similarities between the two areas, Lodge said. They have similar size, population and climate and are both scenic tourist spots by the sea. Both cities have a mountain range in the background, and even have some similar problems, such as their water supplies, Lodge added.

The visit by the two mayors and their delegations is scheduled to take place between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 pm on October 30. In addition to relighting the flame, this visit will include a lunch at the UCSB Faculty Club for the visitors. After leaving the Santa Barbara area Nov.1, the Soviet delegation will proceed to Los Angeles, where it will visit Disneyland.

"We are rejuvenating the hopes of the sixties, which have been more or less relighting this monument for the actual cause of world peace," Williams concluded.