Carrying on With Peace

Students from del Sol School in Manhattan Beach made their yearly pilgrimage to Santa Barbara Friday, April 20 carrying with them 1000 brightly colored origami cranes that they had painstakingly folded as part of their annual study of peace. For the past twelve years, student groups from del Sol have hung the cranes in La Casa de Maria’s Sadako Peace Garden in Montecito but were unable to this year as La Casa’s 26-acre property, including the Peace Garden, was badly damaged in the January 9 mud and debris flow and has been closed since.

Singing songs of peace, the del Sol students performed in front of the 1000 origami cranes they created.

Instead, the students and their families gathered in Alice Keck Park in Santa Barbara and hung their cranes on a wisteria arbor and conducted their traditional ceremony, singing songs of peace and celebrating healing. Wearing matching shirts emblazoned with the words “the Power of Vulnerability ~ del Sol Season for Nonviolence 2018” the school marked the end of a segment of the curriculum during which students explore peace.

La Casa staffers Mary Ann Paxton (l) and Stephanie Glatt were on hand for the annual ceremony.

The 1000 paper cranes tradition pays tribute to Sadako Sasaki, a Japanese girl who was sickened with leukemia as a result of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. While hospitalized, Sadako began making cranes to honor an ancient Japanese legend as she prayed for peace. While she died before she completed the cranes, others finished for her. Since then, the tradition has been carried out by children around the world.

Several staff members of La Casa were on hand to welcome the del Sol families and to thank them for continuing their tradition under somewhat altered circumstances. They explained that the Peace Garden will be rebuilt eventually and that even in devastation, some of the cranes from previous visits had remained unharmed, a true symbol of hope and inspiration.

Even after mud and debris flowed through the Sadako Peace Garden some of the cranes from the previous ceremony hung on.

“Sadako will carry on…” the children sang out enthusiastically in one of the songs they performed beneath the hanging cranes. Those words seemed especially poignant and fitting given the current state of La Casa’s Peace Garden.

After the ceremony, the cranes were transported on bamboo dowels to La Casa de Maria, where they will be hung at a later date.

Staff members will bring the colorful cranes to La Casa and hang them in an alternate location until the Sadako Peace Garden is fully restored.