This summer the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library invited residents to join in a town-wide project of making 1,000 origami paper cranes. Participants were asked to donate them for display at the library, keep them, or give them to others in the community. The library provided origami kits and online tutorials and requested participants provide the number of cranes made and a photo.
Why 1,000 origami cranes? There is a Japanese legend in which a crane was thought to live for 1,000 years, thus being a symbol of health and good luck. Folding 1,000 paper cranes on behalf of someone who is sick signifies care and concern for that person. Sadako Sasaki (memorialized in the books Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and Sadako by Eleanor Coerr) was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Ten years later, she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Sadako spent her final days in the hospital folding cranes in the hopes that she would have her wish for healing granted. Sadly, she died in 1955. After her death, her friends and classmates promised to create a monument in her honor, and this sparked a children’s peace movement which led to the origami crane becoming a symbol of peace, hope and healing.
The struggles of recent months have made it even more important to share a collective wish for health, hope and peace. The Berlin community certainly responded to this wish, creating 1,420 cranes, far exceeding the original goal. The library welcomes the public to come in and view the origami cranes.