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Posted on: August 18, 2020

MacArthur Memorial Hosts 1,000 Paper Crane Exhibit

NORFOLK,Va. – To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the use of the atomic bombs in August 1945 and the end of World War II on September 2, 1945, the MacArthur Memorial will host a special exhibit of 1,000 paper cranes entitled A Better World.  The display will open on August 19, 2020 and will remain onsite through 2021.  Admission is FREE. 

According to Japanese legend, anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes is granted a wish.  At the age of 12, a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki began making origami cranes.  Sadako had been exposed to radiation from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and suffered from leukemia.  She was determined to make 1,000 paper cranes and then make a wish for a long healthy life.  She eventually completed more than 1,000 paper cranes but died on October 25, 1955.  Every year, people around the world fold paper cranes to remember Sadako and as a wish for peace. 

Speaking from the deck of the USS Missouri at the end of World War II, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur pressed for a lasting peace.   He hoped “a better world” would come out of the “blood and carnage of the past – a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”

Students from River Road Middle School in Elizabeth City, NC and the 6th Grade U.S. History students at the Academy of Discovery at Lakewood in Norfolk, VA contributed many of the paper cranes on display. Cranes were also folded by dozens of families across Hampton Roads who were participating in distance learning during the Spring 2020 semester.  

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