One of the awe-inspiring results of the drive for a memorial has been the many distant and unexpected volunteers who want to support us in our endeavors. A case in point is the overwhelming number of origami cranes who have “flown in” to Juneau from as far away as Hawaii, Washington, California, Nebraska, Ohio, Vermont and Canada.
Tina Kobayashi’s home is in Juneau, but she’s been spending a great deal of time in Hawaii. Wanting to support the Empty Chair Project, she began folding cranes while watching television and ended up sending us 1,283 of them. Go Tina! You will notice that one of Tina’s strings of cranes below is in blue and gold foil, the colors of Alaska’s flag.
Masako Fukawa, an author from British Columbia, Canada, visited Juneau last summer and learned about the Empty Chair Project from a Juneau Convention and Visitors Center volunteer. After returning home, she e-mailed us to ask if she could donate some cranes. Her goal was 72 to mark the 72nd year since the internment, but she got enthused and exceeded her goal! (Crane folding can become habit forming.) Over 100 cranes arrived folded by members of her family.
As Masako told it, “The cranes were folded mostly by my granddaughters on Mother’s Day – Kaya Kurz 16 years old, Tara Kurz, 13, (and) Bryn Fukawa, 10. Others who contributed were Ellen Kurz, Anya Bailey (mothers), Eleanor Osborne and Masako Fukawa (grandmothers).”
Annie Caulfield, a counselor at Harborview Elementary in Juneau, sent this photo of her students with the cranes they made into a beautiful hanging work of art. They are sending their extras to us.
Here are the smiling faces of Julie Abo’s Japanese Drumming Group in Lincoln, Nebraska, displaying the cranes they folded for their contribution to the dedication ceremony on July 12th.
In addition, we have received cranes from Miya Cline and her daughter Rebekah Kovach in Vermont, who heard about our efforts through an order we placed with her on-line, and Marianne Argetsinger Derr, a former Juneau High School student, whose cranes were folded at a Quaker meeting in Ohio. And, of course, we have the continuing efforts of our committee.
All in all, we’ve had over 2,500 cranes arrive ahead of schedule. At this rate we’ll be surrounded by good fortune, harmony and peace at our dedication.
Thank you one and all. We are truly grateful. May good fortune and peace flow back to you.