The Peace Crane Ceremony at the Gates Of Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant:
Jun-san Yasuda of the Grafton Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist nun who has walked thousands of miles in this country and others in the name of peace. Jun-san is joined by other Peace Walkers in the trek from the Cortlandt train station to the old entrance of Indian Point where she performs her annual Peace Crane ritual. As part of the ceremony, origami paper cranes are left at the gates of Indian Point as both a prayer for safety of the community and as a prayer for the speedy closing of the reactors.
Jun-san and all of the Peace Walkers are opposed to nuclear power because of the massive amount of damage it does to the planet and the high level radioactive waste that it produces. This waste, comprised of irradiated spent fuel rods, is lethal for 240,000 years which is longer than the 20,000 years humans have existed on the planet. There is no plan for isolating this waste from people and the environment for anything near that amount of time.
In Japan the crane, a majestic, migratory bird, has long been considered an omen of good fortune. The modern connection with folding paper cranes starts with the story of Sadako. As a young girl Sadako, with many others, was exposed to radiation from the explosion of the Atomic bomb at Hiroshima.
At the age eleven she was diagnosed with leukemia. During her treatment, she began folding paper cranes, recalling the ancient Japanese legend holding that anyone who folds 1,000 paper cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako wished for world peace and continued folding cranes until her death at age 12 in 1955.
Sadako’s schoolmates later funded the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, with a bronze figure of Sadako holding a golden crane. Since that time millions of other people have taken up her wish and have folded untold numbers of paper cranes with the fervent hope for world peace and an end to nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors.
To see a picture of Sadako and some of the paper cranes she folded go to https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2015/08/28/how-paper-cranes-became-a-symbol-of-healing-in-japan/. There is a black slab of marble at the base of the crane statue that is inscribed
Kore wa bokura no sakebi desu. Kore wa watashitachi no inori desu. Sekai ni heiwa o kizuku tame no. “This is our cry, this is our prayer: for building peace in the world”.
The Grafton Peace Pagoda is located 87 Crandall Rd. Petersburgh, NY 12138, Visitors are welcome by appointment. Call 518-658-9301. For pictures of the Peace Pagoda and more information about Jun-san go to http://alloveralbany.com/archive/2009/08/10/the-grafton-peace-pagodao.