Let US Pray Feature




Bernard Gieske, US


Free Form

Cranes for Peace*
In Memoriam, April 16, 2007
Virginia Tech

paper cranes
swaying in the breeze

prayers on wings
crying one wish
“Peace in the World”

for 33 victims
a thousand each
one wish

the crane
symbol of life
peace and hope

origami cranes
embracing every fold
taught to Japanese children
according to tradition

January 9, 2008


*This poem was inspired by the article “Peace of Paper” written by Diana Marcum and photos by Craig Kohlrus, first appearing in McClutchy Newpapers in Fresno, Calif. and then reprinted in the Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky on January 7, 2008. At the Fresno City College’s annual Asian Fest, Ray Thomas taught people how to fold cranes, vowing to send 33,000 paper cranes to Virginia Tech in memory of the massacre that took place there in April of 2007. The cranes are now an art exhibit at the college in honor of the 33 professors and students who were killed.

For more about those commemorated, click on:

For more about the art exhibit, click on:

A crane is said to live a thousand years and is regarded as a symbol of life as well as a symbol of peace and hope. In Japanese tradition a person who folds 1000 origami cranes is granted a wish.

The words “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.” is the inscription found at the bottom of a statue of a girl holding a golden crane. Sadako Sasaki was two years old when Hiroshima was bombed. She died at the age of 12 from “the bomb disease”. When she was 11 she began folding paper cranes. After her death, her friends continued folding them and erected this memorial in her honor with their wish inscribed at the bottom.

To read more about Sadako Sasaki, click on

Sadako Sasaki









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