The mission of American Memorial Park is to honor the American and Marianas people who gave their lives during the Marianas Campaign of World War II. Over the year, the park has been sharing the history of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands during World War II with youth through outreach and education programs.
Through funding from Pacific Historic Parks, staff at American Memorial Park have shared the story of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes with children throughout the CNMI. The story follows the life of a young Japanese girl named Sadako who becomes gravely ill by the aftereffects of the atom bomb that was dropped on her hometown of Hiroshima, Japan. With spirit and courage, Sadako works toward fulfilling an ancient Japanese legend that promises that anyone who folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. This story has a close connection to the CNMI. In August 1944, the atom bombs that were dropped on Japan during WWII took off from the island of Tinian and were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, devastating these two cities.
Paper cranes are a symbol of peace and healing, therefore the Paper Cranes for Peace Project was started at American Memorial Park to share the history and story to promote peace through the folding of paper cranes.
For the whole month of August, American Memorial Park welcomed the public to the Visitor Center to participate in the Paper Cranes for Peace Project. Paper cranes were also received from various schools throughout the CNMI. At the end of August, more than 1,000 paper cranes were collected.
Last year, the paper cranes were packed and shipped to the Children’s Peace Memorial from American Memorial Park. This year, Pacific Historic Parks education manager Jaclyn Balajadia and education specialist Jovannalyn Mafnas were invited to present at the 41st Annual Pacific Circle Consortium Education Conference in Hiroshima, Japan. Therefore, 1,000 paper cranes were personally brought to the Hiroshima Children’s Peace Memorial.
Pacific Historic Parks supports the National Park Service through research, preservation, restoration, fund development, education and interpretive programs of WWII in the Pacific and other Pacific historic sites. (PHP)