American children present “senbazuru” to Chibichiri Gama
In response to the recent vandalism by four local teems in Chibichiri-gama (Cave), a site of a mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, children and families of the U.S. military community visited the site Saturday, to offer 16,000 ‘senbazuru’ paper cranes. They knew from the news that the relics and senbazuru had been broken, and wished “to do something to relieve the pain of Okinawa’s people.”
Heather Yeatsman, whose husband works on the Kadena Air Base started the project pm facebook with challenging members of the U.S. military community to make senbazuru. Students of ten elementary, junior high and high schools on the U.S. military installations on Okinawa trponded to the challenge making senbazuru including message cards praying for peace.
About 30 children and their parents visited the site. They offered their senbazuru to the statue of peace, and then placed them inside the cave. Nine-year-old Mina Hyatt said, “I was surprised when I heard local teens did it, and felt that we should make senbazuru to replace the destroyed ones. I felt so sad when I entered the cave.”
Norio Yonaha, the head of the War-Bereaved Families Association, said, “I realized that permanent peace is universal. People who were killed here suffered, and survivors and bereaved people are also suffering. We would like to learn what the peace is together with you.”
Reportedly, some private people in Japan Mainland and in a facility for disabled have also donated of senbazuru to be placed in the cave.