One Thousand Paper Sunflowers in Memory of Ukraine

By: Zane Cruz

Most of us know the story of Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes. It is a work of historical fiction based on the life of a real girl who fell ill with leukemia due to the radiation emitted from the atomic bomb which fell Hiroshima. In the book, Sadako’s friend explains that the crane, a sacred bird in Japan, lives for 100 years, and if a sick person folds 1000 paper cranes, then that person would get well soon. After hearing the legend, Sadako decides to fold 1000 cranes and pray that she would get well again. According to her family, specifically her older brother, Masahiro Sasaki, he speaks about his sister’s life saying Sadako not only exceeded her count by 644 cranes, but she also exceeded her goal of 1000.  Sasaki passed away, having folded over 1400 paper cranes. Today, Japanese children all over the country create these little cranes in memory of Sadako Sasaki.  Sadako and The Cranes became a symbol for World Peace in Japan after her death in 1955.  Japanese schoolchildren dedicated a collection of origami cranes for Sadako Sasaki in Hiroshima Peace Park.

Closer to home, Ms. Goldstein, head of the Art Department, decided to mimic this story and do the same for the country of Ukraine. She gathered a team of over 100 students to make 1000 paper sunflowers. She chose sunflowers because they are the national flower of Ukraine and because they represent long life, loyalty, and adoration. In making the 1000 sunflowers, Goldstein shows the empathy and hope we hold for the people of Ukraine.  We support them in their plight for freedom.

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