On that fateful day of December 14, a gunman took the lives of twenty children and six adult staff in Sandy Hook Elementary School, in one of the worst mass shootings in the US. On that day, a Japanese family were visiting in the US and they were affected by the tragedy. They went home to Japan determined to send their comfort and love to the students and staff of the school. Today, the 1,000 cranes are strung together on stands in Newtown, a symbol of Japan’s care for the school.
It was the family’s college-age daughter who thought of sending the Senbazuru, 1,000 paper cranes. They posted the call for “donations” of the paper cranes on Facebook and twenty of their friends answered. Martin Swist, a former teacher at the American School in Japan, helped organize the project, and some of the students at his current school joined in making the cranes. Each plane takes around two minutes to make, so it took everything 33 hours to make, and another four hours to string them together using almost invisible thread.
Swist then shipped the cranes over to his former high school classmate, Ray Horvath, head teacher of before and after school programs at Sandy Hook. “It’s overwhelming — the effort, the heart, the soul,” he said after receiving the intricate gift. He said he was blown away with the effort it took to make that and it is gifts like these that have lifted them up. He will now have to look for a permanent home for the cranes (fire laws prevent it from hanging in the school) for the sculpture so the rest of the community will also be comforted by it and the note that came with it that reads, “A thousand wishes come your way, on the wings of these thousand cranes, to comfort you, to ease your pain, to express love and support.”
[ via CT Post ]