Rotary International’s Immediate Past President Sakuji Tanaka was in Hilo to plant a memorial Peace Tree at Liliuokalani Park. Rotary Club of South Hilo member Steve Yoshida started the initiative for the tree planting.
“Sakuji Tanaka is a friend of mine. We served together as Rotary district governors over 20 years ago. We were both children of the second World War. My parents were from Hiroshima, spent years in camp, and he saw the devastation of Japan,” Yoshida said.
Yoshida, representing Rotary District 5000 (Hawaii) went to Hiroshima and received a gift of trees that survived the Hiroshima atomic blast. “The trees are intended to be planted in public parks to remember the horrors of past wars and give hope for a peaceful future,” Yoshida said.
When Sakuji found out that Yoshida had received the trees from Hiroshima, he readily agreed to come to Hilo for a ceremonial tree planting.
“He hopes that the tree will stand as a symbol to future generations of the peace that comes from exchanges and sharing of cultures between Hawaii and Japan. That there will never be a reason among friends to resort to war,” Yoshida said.
During his tenure as president of Rotary International, Tanaka held on to the theme of “Peace Through Service.” He convened three Global Peace Forums in Honolulu, Hiroshima and Berlin to promote world peace.
Through an interpreter, Tanaka gave his thanks for the wonderful relations between Hawaii and Japan and expressed his desire to see a continued close and peaceful relationship between the two areas.
Rotary is an international organization with over 34,282 clubs and 1.2 million members worldwide. Rotary Clubs around the globe are committed to the common good of their communities and the world.