MISSOULA — On Friday, a hiker on Waterworks Hill discovered a swastika placed near the hill’s popular peace sign.
The hiker notified Parks and Recreation, who then contacted the owner of the hill, Jeannette Rankin Peace Center.
In July of 2007, the Peace Center purchased the 4.5 acres of land where the peace sign currently resides.
Staff say the peace sign serves as a beacon of the organization’s mission and offers a place for people to reflect.
Once they received word of the swastika, volunteers worked to remove the structure and do some other maintenance in the area.
The Peace Center's Executive Director Betsy Mulligan-Dague told MTN News her focus isn’t on finding blame for who placed the swastika, but rather, sparking a meaningful conversation.
“We got a lot of comments about how sad it was that this happened, but it's really a conversation, and it was a wonderful opportunity for about a dozen folks to get together yesterday and feel like they were doing something by repairing the peace sign, putting it back together again, and sort of reinforcing the resilience of peace and saying that, you know, every single time, love overcomes hate.”
The Jeannette Rankin Peace Center will be working with Har Shalom to address this situation and future incidents that may arise.
At this time the swastika has been taken down, and the public is encouraged to visit the Peace Park on Waterworks Hill.