Sunday, June 28, 2015

A most Wonderful Letter about" The USS Boston and the Japanese Peace Bell" 1945.

A thank you letter from Lola Heiler- Stillman about my talk at the University of Mass OLLI lecture series.

Lola states,

"Thanks Joe for your kind reply.  I too have been laid up with medical problems - had hip replacement surgery in early June and now am going through PT to strengthen/straighten leg/hip.  I finally got a chance to order your book from Amazon as gifts for two of my friends who love Boston and its history.  One is an "OFD" (Originally From Dorchester) like me whose dad retired from the Boston public school system after 30 years of teaching high school history.  We both share a love and passion for the city of our birth and a desire to educate in our own unique ways.  She was the person who introduced me to OLLI at UMass Boston and helped me present a Quincy Access TV program on the bell/USS Boston and its connection to the city of Quincy (built at Fore River Shipyard in 1942/launched in 1943).

The Boston Courant did a brief article on the bell for this past week's edition.  The writer Jordan Frias was looking for a tie-in to WW2 70th anniversaries so I suggested he focus on 1945 when the USS Boston sailors found the bell at the Yokosuka weapons depot/foundry during the occupation.  I also stressed that 2015 is the 340th anniversary of the bell's casting.  

I continue to look forward to educating the public about Boston's peace bell and hope to write a monograph for the Emerald Necklace Conservancy that will be available to the public when they visitor the Shattuck Visitor Center in the Back Bay Fens.  Also plan to continue my relationship with OLLI UMass Boston by doing a presentation on my hero Frederick Law Olmsted and his Emerald Necklace parks next spring.  Will include a tour of the Back Bay Fens as part of the program.  I love what OLLI stands for so whatever contribution I can make brings me joy.

You as well have inspired me in my own Boston historic pursuits and I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to meet you in person.

Happy summer.  Lola."

This below quote taken from a March 19, 2012 article in Back Bay Patch by Lola Heiler- Stillman exclaims,

"Forged in 1675, the 450-pound bell rang for centuries in religious ceremonies at the Manpuku-ji temple in Sendai. During World War II, the Japanese government compelled its citizens to donate metals to be smelted down and turned into artillery, and the bells were granted no exception. As a result, nearly 95% of all of the temple bells in Japan were lost. During the American invasion of Japan, Navy soldiers found 500 bells ready to be repurposed into weapons of war and took several back to America. Capt. Marion Kelley of the USS Boston brought this particular bell back in 1946.Over the next decades, all but one of the bells were returned to their original homes in Japan as diplomatic gestures. When the US State Department contacted Sendai in 1953 to arrange the bell’s return, a group called the Temple Believers offered to allow the bell to remain in Boston as a gift. 'They were donating it in the spirit of peace and friendship between the two cities,' says Heiler-Stillman."

Thank you Lola for your passionate research and your kind words about my book "Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us", Joe Gallo

Another Japanese Peace Offering in our Boston Public Garden

Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us; Boston Monuments; Boston Guidebook;
Japonese Lantern Boston Public Gardens
Japanese Lantern (16th Century)

Boston Public Garden / near Bridge Donated by Japanese Art Dealer Bunkio Matsuki Iron / Granite
Ornamenting Boston’s beautiful Public Gardens, this iron lantern was a gift from the people of Japan in 1904.

The lantern is symbolic of the light brought to gardens by other Japanese lanterns and was donated by Japanese art dealer Bunkio Matsuki. Since the 7th century such lanterns were used in Buddhist temples and shrines. Matsuki was born in Japan where he was trained as a Buddhist monk but he immigrated to Boston in 1888 where he established a business promoting Japanese art. 

Taken from "Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us"

"Boston Bronze and Stone Speak To Us" can be purchased at Old North Gift Shop , Faneuil Hall Gift Shop and Amazon. Com.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Homicide and The Needless Death of Our Young.

Homicide and The Needless Death of Our Young.

Garden of Peace

Government Center 
Judy Kensley McKie / Catherine Melina, Sculptors Bronze / Granite
The stone base of this monument symbolizes “Tragic Density” and the bronze Ibis ascending represents “Hope”. It was erected to honor the loss of innocent lives especially on our city streets. This serene Garden of Peace captures in bronze and stone the hopes of all who dream of living in peaceful communities, societies, and a peaceful world.
The Garden of Peace is a memorial commemorating victims of homicide and 
a living reminder of the impact of violence. 
It is a visual testament to the need for 
eliminating violence. The Garden is a symbol 
of hope for peace and renewal in our lives, 
our community, and the world.
Nancy, A Passage of Time (1978)
Cambridge Street 
Rick Lee, Sculptor 
Cor-Ten Steel and Stainless Steel / Granite
A personal tragedy inspired this universal symbol of sudden death that can effect any of us at any time.
The Drucker family commissioned this sculpture in honor of their deceased daughter and sister, Nancy, who was killed in a car accident in 1975. They donated the piece to the city and dedicated it on May 30th, 1978, the date of Nancy’s 28th birthday. Although the sculpture might be said to resemble an open book, it is primarily abstract. The two materials used to create it stainless steel and Cor-Ten steel create contrast in the work’s surface as the Cor-Ten half rusts with exposure to the elements, and the stainless half resists that decay. The Cor-Ten surface, then, marks the passage of time as it corrodes, alluding to our collective mortality, while the stainless element retains its sheen, as does Nancy’s memory through this memorial. 
"Boston Bonze and Stone Speak tTo Us" can be purchased at Faneuil Hall Gift Store , Old North Church Gift Store and Amazon. com