The San Francisco City Hall is a grand building with a magnificent domed ceiling and sweeping staircase. This time of year at the top of the stairwell sits the World Tree of Hope. From the distance the tree looks white but on closer examination you discover thousands of folded paper cranes. On each crane is a message of hope from people from all over the world. It is a symbol of unity.
The paper crane story was brought to attention by Sadako Sasaki. She contracted leukemia after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. While she was in the hospital she read the Japanese legend about how the person who folds 1000 cranes will be granted her wish. Her wish was to heal. She wrote on the wings of a crane…”I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world”. She was 356 cranes short of 1000 when she died. Her determination and vision has inspired children and adults across the globe.
Today, the World Tree of Hope is a gift to the world from the San Francisco LGBTQ community. Messages of love, hope, and unity cover the tree. The simplicity of the cranes gives elegance and power to the messages:
“A world for our children more just, more fair, more kind than the one we know now” – President Barack Obama
“I dare to wish for a world in which people live in harmony with each other and the natural world” – Dame Jane Goodall
My wish is to find a way to serve the world.” – Evela, age 32, Cape Town, South Africa
“Brothers and sisters! I wish in coming year you all have harmony and peace in your life, you have good health, happiness and fun a lot. Let Eywa smiles to you.” – Taras Gaidukov, age 22, Kharkov, Ukraine
“My wish is for peace in the hearts of all human beings to bring about peace in our world, a world free from any form of discrimination and hate.” – Sister Marie Des Jarlais, FSPA, Mexico City, Mexico
This tree is a symbol of the threads that weave us together as global citizens. I encourage you to send your message and wishes of peace on the wings of a paper crane that will fly around the world.