Happy Veteran’s Day, and the lesser-known Origami Day!
The origami is ready to salute!
Among the many random things I do to pass the time or divert myself, I’ve always loved crafts, and paper art is no exception! The tradition of paper art is found in many different cultures around the world, but the best known is probably Japanese origami, the art of paper folding. Anything that old with mysterious origins has legends surrounding it, and with origami the most famous legend centers on the paper crane. They say that if someone folds 1000 paper cranes they will be granted one wish.
I’ve tried it, but never succeeded. You need a dedicated army.
Now, as far as thinking of an entry for today, I like origami and I like our troops, but when I started writing this I had no idea if I could tie them both in together. Then, a niggling memory popped into my head, and I had the answer.
Today, in honor of all of those who have lived or died for the good of our country (any country), any innocents who got in the way, and the triumph of love and hope, even in death, today I’d like to recommend Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.
I first read this book when I was in elementary school, which is the book’s target audience, and I remember being deeply impacted by the story. It’s a nonfiction book about a young Japanese girl named Sadako who lived in Hiroshima, and was two years old when it was hit with atomic bombs during WWII. When she was ten she began having strange symptoms as a result of the bomb’s radiation, and soon she was diagnosed with leukemia. She had to stay in bed in a hospital room, but she wished she could go back home to be with her family and to be strong enough to run in races, which was one of the things she loved most. So she started folding paper cranes, in hopes of folding 1000 so she could wish herself healthy.
Many children have already read this book, but for those who haven’t I won’t spoil it. I will only say that it depicts a great picture of hope, and it shows how much one brave, sick little girl could encourage a whole nation in such a dark time.
As an American history nerd, this is such an interesting book. More often than not, books on WWII are always from the Allies’ point of view, but Sadako puts a face on Hiroshima, on Japan, on a country that used to be part of the Axis, allies with Musolini and Hitler. This story doesn’t excuse what either side did, definitely not the Americans for bombing a city full of innocent people, and not the Japanese for having such a huge part to play in the aggression of WWII. It just brings home the points that people are people, death is death, shattered innocence is tragic, but hope never dies.
There are multiple statues and memorials dedicated to Sadako in Hiroshima, and they can be found there today, often surrounded by paper cranes visitors have left. At the base of the Hiroshima Peace memorial there is a plaque which says,
“This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.”
A special thanks to our armed forces, for all you did and do to keep us safe. God bless, and may you find some of the peace you fought so hard for.
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