Sadako Sasaki Crane Exhibit
Today, WWII can seem like something that happened far in the past, as something your grandparents, or even great grandparents experienced. It is hard to imagine how that war defined a generation and continues to define our relationships with countries around the world. Yet the lessons of that war are still present around us and continue to teach us as we move forward into the future. WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor has the responsibility of conveying those lessons to visitors from around the world, and this past Saturday September 21st 2013, the park furthered this mission through sharing the message of Sadako Sasaki.
Sadako Sasaki contracted leukemia caused by the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima when she was just a young girl, and died of the disease in 1955 when she was only 12. Yet she left a powerful and lasting message behind for the rest of the world. She folded over a thousand paper cranes with an ultimate message of peace and reconciliation for the generations that would follow her.
The Sasaki family gifted one of these cranes for permanent display at the Pearl Harbor visitor center, and on international peace day, September 21, 2013 the exhibit featuring the crane was dedicated at Pearl Harbor. A rainbow over the harbor provided the backdrop as the ceremony got underway.
Attendees included the Sasaki family, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Lauren Bruner, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii and many others who contributed to this historic event. The ceremony began with a taiko performance followed by blessings from Bishop Eric Matsumoto of Hawaii Honpa Hongwanji, and Hawaiian Kahu, Kauila Clark. Daniel Martinez, Park Historian, and Paul DePrey, Park Superintendent both addressed the crowd and explained the significance of the gift prior to Masahiro Sasaki, Sadako’s brother making the keynote address.
Remarks from Lauren Bruner, Pearl Harbor survivor, Carole Hayashino of Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and a song by Yuji Sasaki were also part of the ceremony before the official party viewed the exhibit which is now open to the public.
The Pearl Harbor visitor center tells the story of how the United States became involved in world war two, and how this war affected individual people. The sasaki’s family gift of Sadako’s crane now furthers this story through sharing the symbol of peace. Sadako’s crane shows us how to move into the future, not by forgetting the past, but by learning from it. We send our aloha to her family and all those who contributed in this endeavor.