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Cookie Anderson's 53,000 Peace Cranes

In a unique 30-year bid to promote world peace, Cookie Anderson has fashioned 53,000 origami peace cranes by painstakingly folding squares of colored paper. Her achievement is particularly praiseworthy since Cookie, who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (US), suffers from the effects of polio and a car accident, and looks after her 92-year-old mother.

She drew our attention to her website by mentioning it in a message posted on our GuestMap. Here's what she tells her online visitors:

While visiting a dear friend, Haruko Tsuge, in Japan in 1973, I saw thousands of cranes at the Nara Temple where the three monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) are found.

I decided to make 1000 origami cranes as a challenge to myself. After nine months of folding and folding, I completed the first thousand. I gave them to a young former student as a way of showing my encouragement in her road ahead.

As it was relaxing and enjoyable to make them, I decided to make more but I also wanted a "reason" to make them so I thought of making one origami crane for each nuclear weapon. At the time there were, I was told, over 60,000.

As I would finish each bunch, I would give them to someone who was working for peace.

Making an origami peace crane is no easy task, as we found after visiting a "how to" website, which takes six pages to describe and illustrate the 29 steps in the process.

We asked Cookie how long it took her to make a crane. "I've never actually timed myself," she replied, "but I think it's around one-and-a-half to two minutes each."

 

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Story first posted December 2004

Copyright 2004

Eric Shackle

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