It’s been more than seven years since Missoula’s most (in)famous landmark was dismantled and removed from the knoll above Waterworks Hill, but now a peace sign is once again visible on the slopes above the Garden City.
Late last month a group of volunteers—led by Missoula peace activist and original Rainbow Family guru Barry Adams—marched up the hill with sheets and towels and formed a giant peace symbol on a 4.5-acre triangular slice of land acquired by the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center last January. Peace center officials had promised that some symbol would be visible on that site eventually, but JRPC director Betsy Mulligan-Dague says the current makeshift sign is only temporary.
“It’s up there for the 45 Days of Peace we’re celebrating between the day the sign went up and Nov. 6,” Mulligan-Dague says. That’s the final day for Missoula residents to vote on a referendum that would urge Congress to end the war in Iraq (see “Indy Endorsements,” on page 9).
Whether the current symbol will remain after Election Day is still up in the air, but Mulligan-Dague says she’s received only positive feedback so far.
“A lot of people are just saying it’s so great to see a peace sign over Missoula again,” she says.
Meanwhile, more permanent plans for the future of the peace park are still taking shape. On Monday Mulligan-Dague met with Montana Conservation Corps regional director Bobbie Grillo to hash out details for a system of trails that will make the hillside park more accessible. That work is set to take place Nov. 9–10, and the JRPC is looking for volunteers. (Call 543-3955 if you’re interested).
The next step, says Mulligan-Dague, is to contact the people who are watching over the nine pieces of the original peace sign. She says she wants to incorporate the old sign into the park somehow.
“We want to do something that would be honorable to the sign without offending people,” she says.