Ora McGuire is an 85 year old resident of Walpole, Massachusetts, USA whose spiritual contribution to world peace is to make paper cranes using Japanese origami technique. She gives a peace crane to most everyone she meets and tells them the story of Sadako.
Sadako was born in Hiroshimo in 1943, two years before the U.S. military dropped an atomic bomb. Ten years later she developed leukemia. An ancient Japanese legend advises folding a thousand paper cranes to have a long life, since cranes symbolize longevity. Sadako began making peace cranes in hopes of healing but died after completing 645 cranes.
Millions of peace cranes have been sent to Hiroshima to honor Sadako’s courage and her dream of folding a thousand paper cranes. Because of this child, people the world over have come to understand that this tragedy must never happen again and that peace must come to the world. A statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was erected in Hiroshima Peace Park in 1958 with these words
This is our cry,
This is our prayer,
Peace in the world.
In the spring of 2008, Ora went to Blessed Sacrament elementary school in Walpole to teach the children how to make peace cranes and tell them Sadako’s story. She mentioned this to her daughter, Colleen McGuire, an FTW rider, and Colleen asked if the cranes could be given to the Iran FTW team in the upcoming FTW ride in May, 2008. Most of the children’s cranes were presented to the Peace Abbey in Sherbourne, Massachusetts. But Ora reserved a box of cranes and sent them to Octavia Taylor, the US team’s coordinator, who skillfully managed to squeeze it into her luggage in the nick of time for the 2008 ride.
Whilst in Damascus the US team presented the Iranian team the box of colorful peace cranes. We all expressed our sorrow for the prevailing atmosphere of war between our countries under the leadership of George Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We hoped that the spirit of our peace cranes would resonate and make changes in both countries. After the ride Parnaveh Vahidmanesh of the Iran FTW team distributed the peace cranes to Iranian schoolchildren. This picture below is the US and Iranian teams with Her Excellency Mrs Al-Assad showing their solidarity.