Oak Rige — A pavilion that signifies friendship, peace and respect between a Tennessee town that helped develop the atom bomb and its Japanese sister city begins tolling Thursday.
Thousands of dollars and many, many hours of effort have gone into creating the new Peace Pavilion for the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell.
It was dedicated Thursday night in A.K. Bissell Park.
The bell was originally created for Oak Ridge's 50h birthday. Over the years, its supports began to deteriorate, prompting the decision to create a new display area.
The installation and dedication of the pavilion coincides with 75th anniversary celebrations for the Atomic City this year.
According to the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell Advisory Committee, more than $800,000 was raised for the pavilion. Early contributions came from Naka and from the Girl Scouts Oak Ridge Service Unit, which has friendship ties with their fellow scouts in Naka.
The Friendship Bell and pavilion symbolize the enduring ties between Oak Ridge and the city of Naka, Japan, which is Oak Ridge's sister city and is located about 80 miles north of Tokyo.
According to the Oak Ridge International Friendship Bell Advisory Committee, the Peace Pavilion includes 3D-printed bench seat backs and carbon fiber composite beams, a nod to some of the work being done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The project represents a collaboration among the city of Oak Ridge, the lab, the University of Tennessee and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, the Composites Institute.
The 8,000-pound bronze bell features images representing peace and friendship between Oak Ridge and Japan, now one of the United States' strongest allies. It was originally created at the recommendation of Shigeko Uppuluri and her late husband Ram Uppuluri.
During World War II, the place that is now called Oak Ridge was the site of a U.S. operation to help develop the atomic bomb.