The Japanese have a saying that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes is granted one wish. In 2004, the summer Japanese language program at Middlebury joined a peace tradition that grew out of this belief, a tradition that began in 1955 at the bedside of a girl sick with leukemia after the Hiroshima bombing. The story goes that at a friend's prompting, 12-year old Sadako Sasaki managed to fold 644 cranes before her death. After she died, her friends completed the remaining 356 cranes and buried them with her.
Sadako's story became widespread, and in 1958, a statue of her with one of her golden cranes was built in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Her story has become a symbol of hope for a future without nuclear weapons.
Every year, the summer Japanese language program at Middlebury folds 2,000 cranes, one to keep and one to send to Hiroshima for the anniversary of the bombing on the 6th of August. Students get to see their cranes in a memorial ceremony on TV, as well as in a photo taken in front of Sadako's memorial by a friend of the school's director in Hiroshima.
RIGHT: Middlebury cranes in front of the Hiroshima Peace clock, a clock that is reset every time a nuclear weapon is detonated on the planet. The clock was last reset on October 10th, 2006, when North Korea tested a nuclear weapon.
LEFT: Middlebury Cranes in front of Sadako's memorial statue in Hiroshima Peace Park.
2010の千羽鶴が広島に着きました！写真はこれです。The 2010 Thousand-Cranes have arrived in Hiroshima! Here are the photos.