This painting is from a photo I took in 2002 at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall. Several years prior, I had visited Peace Park in Hiroshima, where I was serving as a volunteer missionary. In spite of the sadness of the deaths there--expressed quite powerfully inside the memorial museum--I was struck by the incredible sense of peace and optimism I felt in the park outside, particularly at the Children's Peace Monument. A Japanese tradition says that folding 1,000 paper cranes grants you a single wish, and good people from all around the world have sent thousands upon thousands of paper cranes strung together and placed here to show their deep desire for peace in a troubled world.
Imagine my surprise as I turned a corner at the memorial hall in Nanjing and again found a wall covered with paper cranes wishing for peace. The note here says, "May Japan and China never fight again -- Japan, Fukuoka," then identifies the elementary school and name of the young girl who carefully folded and sent this heartfelt tribute.
There is no shortage of hurt feelings, distrust, misunderstanding and even hatred between many groups all over the world. But whether we are Chinese, Japanese, Iraqi or American, we can all learn from those who cared enough to send these paper cranes as a wish for peace and healing.
October 23rd, 2010
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