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Muscatine bell ringing celebrates peace with Japanese sister city

Japanese city Ichikawamisato has been one of nine sister cities in Muscatine, and together they celebrate peace between the nations with a bell ringing.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — Muscatine community members came together to celebrate international peace with some faraway friends.

A gathering took place Friday, Aug. 5 at Susan Clark Junior High School to ring in decades of unity with one of its sister cities.

Japanese city Ichikawamisato has been one of nine sister cities in Muscatine for decades.

"This is about sharing experiences with everyone around the world and what we can do better to help ourselves and help each other," Muscatine Sister City committee chair Deb Hueser said. 

The ceremony falls 77 years after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, which hastened the end of World War II in the Pacific theater.

"This is 77 years after Hiroshima got hit with a bomb and that was a very bad aspect of war," Hueser said.

The local community joined in a bell ringing and Zoom call with Japan residents to mark the decades-long time of period between the two counties. The event also included a moment of silence for the lives lost in the bombing.

"This event of ringing bells is one small, but one part of our mission," Hueser said. "We've had peace ever since."

Muscatine and Ichikawamisato have been sister cities for 32 years.

"It's all about a cultural understanding, understanding one another and knowing each other as people," Hueser said. "Bad things have happened in the past and good things come out of that."

Muscatine is connected to other sister cities across the globe in Ukraine, Russia, Argentina, Japan, Palestine, Poland, Germany, Liberia and China.

Residents participate in yearly cultural events and travel through the Muscatine Sister Cities program of 36 years.

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