By MIKE MORRIS
A monument dedicated to world peace at White Pines Park near Arnold was cut down and stolen early Saturday morning.
Known as the peace pole, the 21-foot monument, made from the core of a several-hundred-year-old redwood tree, was dedicated shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A project of the Arnold Rotary Club, the pole was a symbol of hope to many, said club President Doug Scott.
"I'm just sick about it," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, this is a hate crime, because it's directed at a group of people who believe that peace on Earth is possible."
Rotarians doing grounds work at the park Saturday morning discovered the pole was missing, Scott said.
"It's almost like a death," he said, referring to the missing pole. "It's mind-boggling that someone could be so Neanderthal to do this. It's just heinous."
While the case is still under investigation, it is believed that more than one person cut down the pole, leaving behind a 3-foot stub. A 3-foot concrete foundation and 6-foot-long steel rods running up the middle of the pole prevented the entire structure from being stolen.
Ron Glass, who made the pole, said whoever stole the pole broke a chain saw chain trying to get it free, and then resorted to a hand saw. He said the entire process should have taken at least 20 minutes, making him wonder why there have been no eyewitness accounts.
"It's just kind of sad that there's people like this in the community," Glass said.
Glass, who owns Ronwright Logging and Lumber Co. in Dorrington, said he will begin work right away on a bigger and better peace pole one that is taller. It will be built around the remaining portion of the current pole, he said.
The stolen pole, in the Rotary Club's section of the park, took Glass about three weeks to complete. Given the materials and labor, Scott estimates the pole is worth $10,000.
Peace poles were inspired by Japanese philosopher Masahisa Goi during the 1950s. After witnessing the effects that World War II had on his country, Goi wanted to help bring peace to the world.