“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.” ~Sadako Sasaki
When I was 10 years old, my mama gave me a story book. A true story book. It was the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. It is the story of a young girl who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bomb. She developed leukemia as a result of the radiation. She was inspired to fold 1000 paper cranes because of the Japanese legend that one who created 1000 origami cranes would be granted a wish. She wished to live. Sadako folded 644 cranes before she became to weak to fold any more. Her friends and family finished the birds for her and they were buried together in 1955.
Now there is a statue of Sadako holding a giant golden origami crane in the Hiroshima Peace Park. People from all over the world visit there everyday, leaving strings of paper birds in honor of Sadako and her message of peace.
I had the opportunity to travel to Hiroshima this year. My heart was full as I visited the Peace Park. A profound sadness found its way in as I thought of all the families torn apart by such an awful and despicable event. Innocent lives lost. Families destroyed. Yet one little girl had hope. Hope in the form of a tiny little paper bird and a wish…That one little bird became thousands. Millions of tiny little pieces of colour carrying millions of heartfelt messages of peace throughout the world. As I wandered the park and looked at all the tiny little birds, the emotions I had when reading the story of Sadako over 30 years ago, all came flooding back to me. The heartbreak was palpable. But so was the hope. The hope that all would be well…I decided right then and there to leave my own little message of peace in this pretty corner of Japan. I tore a piece of paper from my travel journal and started to fold a paper crane….just like my Grandmother had taught me so many years ago…I placed the plain little bird amongst the many other colourful ones…My heart felt as if it would burst. I was here. In Japan…connecting to a childhood hero in a way I had never imagined possible. This overwhelming sense of calm and peace stayed with me for the remainder of my walk through the park. I felt, in my own little way, that I had made a difference…that I could help spread the message of peace. I couldn’t wait to share this experience with the whole world.
But I didn’t share it right away. I kept it to myself. It was almost as if speaking it out loud would make it lose its magic.
But in light of the recent events in Newtown, CT, I can’t keep it to myself any longer. Today seemed the perfect day to spread the message of Sadako and her cranes of peace and promise.
I showed my own smalls how to make a paper crane…we will be hanging them on our Christmas tree this week to remember that peace, love and family, above all other things is what is important. When the Christmas season is over, we will put our birds in the windows so we won’t forget.
I have prepared a picture tutorial on how to make origami cranes at home for your family. If you have any questions when you’ve finished the tutorial, just leave a comment below and I’ll help the best I can.
First you need paper. You can use origami paper, but if you don’t have access to any, you can use any type of paper. Just make sure you make it into a perfect square before you begin. I used to make them out of everything I could find…wrapping paper, magazines, newspaper, loose leaf, etc.
Now you are ready to begin…*you repeat steps 11 and 12 on the “tail” end of the bird.Thank you so much for sharing this post with me today. It is so important to me that our children see that little things can make a difference. One little piece of colour can turn into millions. I will leave you with this message on the monument at the Hiroshima Peace Park. I feel it applies…even now…
And a message from me, to all of you who are in unspeakable pain today…
Thanks for stopping by,
Arlee, Small Potatoes
Don’t forget that today is the star of this week’s Weekly Kid’s Co-op! If you have a kid-friendly activity to share, please click the link below and follow the simple steps. If you don’t, but still want to play, click the link anyway! You’ll find many great activities you can enjoy with your smalls in the upcoming days! Enjoy!