Student visits Japan to deliver 1,000 cranes

By Janelle Mathews

Campus Life Editor

Shannon Foss, sophomore math­ematics major from White Salmon, Wash., traveled to Japan over Easter break to deliver 1000 peace cranes to the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima, Japan to honor Sadako Sasaki.

Foss was first introduced to Sa­dako Sasaki by Sr. Laurice Heybl who is helping Foss reach her goal of 1000 cranes. Sasaki was exposed to the atomic bomb at a very young age; however, it was not until nine years later that the after effects of the bomb kicked in. She was diagnosed with leukemia, and according to Foss, “she heard a Japanese legend that if you fold 1000 peace cranes you will be granted one wish.” Sa­saki managed to fold 1300, but her wish was never granted. Sasaki died two years later, but her story goes on.

Foss’ journey to Japan start­ed with a 12-hour airplane flight from San Francisco to Osaka where she and her father then took a bullet train to Hiroshima. Once in Japan, “all the people were super friendly even considering the history of what the United States of America did to the Japanese people,” Foss said. “There wasn’t any negative energy like I expected but was very pleased to see.”

Foss and her father deliv­ered the cranes to the Children’s Peace Monument that Monday where they saw “thousands and thousands of cranes,” said Foss. “The display itself is a statue, and then there are more than eight of these booths that are stuffed full of crane displays.” There is no formal ceremony of events.

Furthermore, Foss mentioned that “our tour guide commented that it had been a long time since anyone had sent anything or came from the United States, so it was a good thing that we went to represent the United States.”

She and her father toured the Peace Museum and the city of Hi­roshima for the remaining days on their trip.

“A person would never know Hiroshima had been bombed 50-some years ago when you first see it because it has come back to life, but they have left monuments there to say that they have not forgotten what happened in the past,” Foss said. “The city of Hiroshima has be­come one big monument to peace.”

Along with the message of peace, Foss took away more from this trip saying that “the biggest thing that impacted me was the universality of everything because Hiroshima wasn’t necessarily a message that focused on ‘oh how unfortunate it was that it was us that was bombed.’ It was really a message that no one deserved this kind of devastation. It should never happen again.”

In fact, there is a wall with docu­ments at the museum with letters from Hiroshima to every country when they talked about nuclear war encouraging them to stop and be peaceful instead. “What happened in Hiroshima should never happen again,” Foss said.

On Thursday, April 19, Foss will be giving a one-hour presentation about her journey to Japan and the peace cranes in Murphy 348 at 3:30 p.m.

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