- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 8, 2002

Hundreds of believers of different faiths and races gathered yesterday at the Marriott Crystal Gateway Hotel to pledge to work for unity and reconciliation in a world facing difficult times.
"My God didn't have that in mind," the Rev. E.V. Hill, a Baptist pastor in Los Angeles, said of the strife among ethnic groups around the world. "My God meant for me to know all of you, those of you whose names I couldn't pronounce if I tried."
Observing the 61st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that ignited war in the Pacific, leaders in the Interreligious and International World Peace Blessing and Rededication Ceremony urged those in attendance to love one another, regardless of superficial differences.
A Japanese veteran of World War II veteran embraced a onetime American GI from that war; a onetime subject of a communist nation joined hands with one from a democracy; an American Indian embraced an American of European ancestry, and a rabbi, an imam and a bishop joined hands as a gesture of friendship among Jews, Muslims and Christians.
They all signed a pledge that put them on the path to removing the "barriers" between different religions, denominations and races, and to start "building a true world of peace and harmony."
The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, and his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, officiated in a blessing of couples who had gathered to celebrate their marriage vows.
"Revered Moon has rightly received the revelation that our world can only fully accomplish what we need to accomplish if we reconcile the differences and sorrows of the past," said Matt Salmon, a former congressman from Arizona.
Representatives of different faiths spoke about the importance of marriage, offering prayers and celebrating the diversity of the hundreds of couples who came to celebrate at the Crystal City hotel.
Rev. Moon sprinkled holy water on eight couples, gave his blessing in Korean and the audience shouted "Amen." Many of the couples exchanged rings, vowing lifelong fidelity to each other and to God.
"And remember, there is one word your wife will never forget," Imam Mohammed Ali Elahi, of Detroit, said. "When you tell her, 'I love you.'"
The two-hour ceremony drew more than 1,000 and was transmitted by satellite and Internet to all 50 states and to countries around the world, organizers said.

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