Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

Peace Sunday: 1,000 Candles, 1,000 Cranes

The following song by the folk group, Small Potatoes, was sung by my friends Donna and Dan Trabue at church today.  It says more than I can and it always makes me–the grandchild of a World War II veteran who fought in the Pacific and the friend of several Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals–cry my eyes out.

Rich Prezioso, ©1999 Tatertunes Music, BMI

My grandmother had three sons
She dreamed about her children’s children
Then came 1941
Only one son would see the war end

Joseph died marching in Bataan
Frank on the sands of Iwo Jima
The day the bomb destroyed Japan
She thanked God and Harry Truman

She blamed the “godless Japanese”
For having crushed her sweetest dreams
One thousand candles for my sons
Every day I will remember

In Illinois, far from her past
Miss Nakamura still remembers
She was six when she saw the flash
That turned the world to smoke and ashes

Mother taught her daughter well
Run from the fire to the river
There she found a living hell
But not a mother or a father

Though she survived with just a scrape
Her family vanished into space
One thousand suns, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

My grandmother had three sons
She never dreamed she’d have a daughter
But at the age of eighty-one
She met a nurse named Nakamura

It was a question only meant
To make some talk and pass the hours
About a picture by the bed
A photograph of two young soldiers

Hatred and anger stored for years
Slowly melted into tears
One thousand candles, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

I’ve a picture in my mind
Of two women slowly walking
August 6th, 1985
Walking to church to light a candle

And they once asked me to explain
Why grown men play such foolish games
One thousand candles, a thousand cranes
Everyday I will remember

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August 7, 2011 - Posted by | History, hymns, Just Peacemaking, liturgy, peace, worship

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