One Korea: Bridge of Peace
On Saturday, July 11, 2015, the New Jersey Chapter of the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) held a historic and inspiring program on “Peace at Last – One Korea: Bridge of Peace Ceremony” at the Korean Community Center in Tenafly, New Jersey, in response to True Mother’s instruction that America should take responsibility for the unity of the Korean Peninsula. The event was attended by over 250 guests, including the Tenafly Councilman Daniel Park, District Director on behalf of Congressman Scott Garrett; Vice Consul from Turkey, Gizem Kumas; religious leaders; Korean community leaders from various organizations; media representatives (three articles were written by major Korean American News papers); and leaders from the Unification movement.
Approximately, one and a half years ago, NJ Chairwoman, Rev. Denneze Nelson heard a speech by WFWP founder, Mrs. Hak Ja Han, saying, “North and South Korea need to unite and America needs to make this happen.” Rev. Nelson and her team of women began months of Hoon Dok Hwe (scripture reading) to understand the heart and vision of True Parents on the issue. Upon internalizing the deep internal meanings, the NJ women invited the Korean Evangelical Association (KEA), Universal Peace Federation (UPF) and Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) to collaborate on an event that would comfort the heart of Heavenly Parent and True Parents, proclaim the work of True Parents to Koreans in America, inspire Koreans in America and the American public in general to support peaceful unification, and inspire a national movement that would expedite peaceful unification. The committee planned an event that would eventually coincide with True Father’s National Seonghwa Celebration. In the last three months WFWP, KEA and FFWPU resumed those meetings and produced the wonderful event that took place on the 11th.
The event was also filled with informative and thought-provoking presentations on the path to reunification. Dr. Mark Barry, Senior Advisor for UPF Office of Peace and Security Affairs, outlined True Parents’ prolific work to reunite North and South. This included personal meetings with North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and his son, Kim Jong Il as well as various behind-the-scenes efforts which do not make newspaper headlines, but nevertheless have contributed to softening relations between North and South as well between North Korea and the United States. The spirit of the event was perfectly encapsulated by the last song of the program by Mrs. Seiko Lee, internationally renowned soprano: a South Korean folk song entitled “Geuriun Kumgansan”. Roughly translated, the title means “Yearning for Mt. Kumgang.” Mt. Kumkang is historically one of the most well-known and culturally significant mountains on the Korean Peninsula.
From the entertainment to the beautiful flag ceremony, to the Bridge of Peace ceremony, one could feel the tremendous heart of support and awareness of this deep and critical issue. As Dr. Barry pointed out, this year marks the 70th anniversary of the division of the Korean peninsula, and North and South Korea are still in a state of war. However, throughout the program, one could see the tremendous possibilities for peace. Entertainment included North Korean singer Ms. Young Ah Mae, awarded beatboxer Mr. Sung Lee, a local group of Korean Youth Drummers, and Mrs. Seiko Lee who gave a beautiful rendition of several North and South Korean songs and shared some of her personal experiences performing for Kim Jong Il.
During the Bridge of Peace ceremony, representatives from North Korea, South Korea, Japan, United States, Russia and China embraced across a bridge. Symbolizing the nations which contributed to the division of Korea, the pairs demonstrated a commitment to going beyond past differences between these countries and to making unification a reality. As WFWP NJ chairwoman Denneze Nelson succinctly proclaimed: “Korea must unite peacefully!” According to True Father, WFWP co-founder, who has spoken extensively on reunification, unity will come about not by military or by force, but through true love: “There need to be South Koreans who love North Korea with a love greater than any South Korean for South Korea. Also, there need to be North Koreans who love South Korea with a greater love than any North Korean has for North Korea. There is no alternative, no solution other than this.”
WFWP USA President Angelika Selle highlighted the experience of reunification between East and West Germany as an example of making the impossible possible. Many seriously doubted that reunification was feasible, but because of those who refused to give up hope, that day of celebration and joy in which the Berlin Wall finally came down was finally realized. The hope for WFWP NJ is to enthuse other state chapters to host their own versions of this event that proclaims True Parents as the ones who internally and externally established movements for the unity of North and South Korea. The next step for WFWP NJ is a signature campaign for unification in collaboration with some of the organizations in attendance.