Last week, at a Trim the Tree party, a friend brushed me up on my origami skills and re-taught me how to make paper cranes… for this, I am grateful.
A Holiday Story (within a story within a story)
A few days ago, while watching the news, I was touched by a story of David Heard, a young boy with neuroblastoma, who, inspired by an ancient Japanese legend, started making paper crane mobiles to donate to pediatric cancer centers around the country.
The crane has been long revered in Japanese culture as a symbol of devotion and honor. It is said that a crane can live for a thousand years and when they mate, they mate for life. As the legend goes, whomever folds 1000 paper cranes is granted a wish.
After World War II the story evolved to embrace the theme of world peace through the story of a little girl named Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
As it was her wish to live, Sadako spent the days of her illness in bed folding paper cranes in the hopes of fulfilling the legend and being granted her desire by the crane. And while she died before being able to complete the task, her friends and family carried out her last wish, completed the cranes, and buried them with her.
In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Children’s Peace Monument was erected in memory of Sadako and other children who died as a result of the bombing. On the statue there is a plaque which reads, “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.”
While you are spending time with your friends and family this holiday season why not start a new tradition, make some cranes and mail them to: The Heard Family at 130 W. Lafayette St. in Easton, PA, 18042 and help make David’s wish a reality.
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There is a wonderful article about David Heard and his inspiring and ambitious project, here.
To learn how to make your own origami cranes you can download instructions, here.
The official Hiroshima peace site has a great kids section for those interested in sharing the story of Sadako with youngsters, here.
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