Bridge of Peace Ceremony in Brisbane

September 16, 2015 - Brisbane, Australia
By: Mamiko Rattley, Chair WFWP Queensland

Commemorating 70 Years After World War II

The Bridge of Peace Sisterhood Ceremony to commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the end of World War Two was held at the Premiers' Hall in the Queensland State Parliament in Brisbane. It was hosted by Women's Federation for World Peace Queensland (WFWPQ) and the National Council of Women of Queensland (NCWQ).

The program started with an Acknowledgment of Country by Aunty Peggy Tidyman, President of Logan Elders. MC Anne Bellavance, President of WFWP Australia, introduced the history and background of the Bridge of Peace Sisterhood Ceremony.

Noela O'Donnell, President of NCWQ, welcomed all the participants as a host.

This event was elevated by dignitaries from the highest office in the state, the Governor of Queensland, and international guests, the President of WFWP International Professor Yeon Ah Moon and 19 WFWP Japan delegates.

The MC invited the Governor of Queensland, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, to give his greetings. The Governor congratulated the sponsors for this historic event and commended the work of NCWQ and WFWP.

Professor Yeon Ah Moon gave greetings as the president of WFWP International. She said we need to 'forgive, love and unite' in order to bring lasting peace in the world.

Mrs Oizumi, former MP of the National Parliament of Japan, gave greetings as a representative of WFWP Japan's 19 delegates, saying that Japan and Australia can reconcile the past of World War Two and develop a truly deeper friendship through today's ceremony.

For the ceremony itself, the participants stood up from their tables and eagerly lined up, 19 WFWP Japan delegates on the left and 19 Australian women on the right. Pair by pair they walked up to the stage, each crossing the stage to greet her new sister with a Japanese bow and a Western hug. Each pair then walked through a beautiful arch, representing the Bridge of Peace, decorated with cherry blossoms and hibiscus. After everyone had returned to the tables, each pair signed a Sisterhood Pledge and everyone read it aloud in unison.

There was time for matched pairs and guests to get to know each other over a wonderful lunch.

To entertain everyone Ms. Junko Thomson performed Odori, a Japanese traditional dance.

Following lunch and entertainment, Mamiko Rattley, President of WFWP Queensland, spoke about the background and significance of the Bridge of Peace Ceremony as a WFWP signature project and why the chapter decided to organise it in Melbourne. She expressed her gratitude that this beautiful, historic event could be supported by the Governor, NCWQ, WFWP International President, WFWP Japan delegates and many accomplished women leaders of Brisbane. She especially thanked co-host NCWQ and the four organisations, WFWP International & Japan, UPF and the City of Brisbane, which sponsored the event.

Then a song, "Find the cost of Freedom," was sung by Signature.

To conclude the program Noela O'Donell gave an Acknowledgement of Service and we listened to one verse each of the Japanese and Australian anthem.

At the end all sang Let There Be Peace on Earth together while accompanied by Japanese singer and mandolin player Kiyomi Sakai.

All participants had an unforgettably beautiful experience at this Bridge of Peace Sisterhood Ceremony. We hope this event will help to ease painful past relationship between Australia and Japan which arose out of their experience in World War II.

We pray that world peace can truly be realised through us women.

If the women of the world can be sisters, the men of the world can't fight a war

Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, WFWP Founder