Chances are that if you’ve been in the atrium of McComsey Hall, you’ve seen the thousands of paper birds in flight hanging from the ceiling. The origami folded in the shape of a crane was part of a project to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by now retired employee Candice Hozza. With the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaching, it’s time you knew the story behind the birds.
Hozza decided to borrow something from Japanese culture and the true story of Sadako Sasaki, a 12-year old girl who survived the atomic bomb attack of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at age two but died of the lingering problems associated with radiation poisoning 10 years later. A friend told Sadako that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would have a wish and could be well. One version of the story is that she fell short of her goal completing only 644 before she died and that her friends and classmates completed the rest. The other version of the story is that she exceeded her goal. In both versions, the paper cranes were buried with her.
“After sharing my idea with the students, it gained momentum. Before I knew it, the Millersville community was rallying for this project,” says Hozza. “RAs would drop off bags of cranes! Then local schools and churches started folding cranes. People even left notes on the inside of their folded cranes: notes in remembrance, love and peace.”
Hozza used wire to fold four crane shapes in recognition of the four locations of the terrorist attacks. When all of the completed crane were collected, it matched the exact number of reported deaths and they all fit onto the wire frames. The cranes were originally displayed in the Student Memorial Center and then moved to McComsey.
“Millersville University, as an institution of higher education, has an obligation to help our campus community and the greater world around us remember and understand the impact of events such as the terrorist attacks so that we can learn, grow and actively promote a world of peace; of integrity, of inclusion and of compassion where hate is not tolerated,” says Rita Miller, Success Coach, Academic Advisement and Student Development.