Monday, February 26, 2007

Japanese Ambassador Honors Wounded U.S. Veterans

U.S. Army Pfc. Marissa Strock , left, a double-leg amputee wounded in Iraq, and her mother, Sandi Ogden, follow Japanese Lt. Col. Ichiro Sato's instructions as they fold origami paper into cranes during an evening at Ambassador Ryozo Kato's residence Feb. 23 in Washington, D.C.
Defense Dept. photo by John J. Kruzel
In Japan, people make origami paper cranes for the sick and injured as a prayer for their recovery. A group of 70 wounded US troops and their families found cranes waiting for them on their dinner tables February 23, when they attended a dinner in their honor at the residence of Japanese Ambassador Ryozo Kato.

Kato said they "carry the burden of service to their country," and he thanked them for their "service to the larger ideals that our two countires represent." Japan is a close ally to the United States, and a close ally in the war on terror.

Kato delivered a message fro Japan's prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, "the grateful people of Japan wish each of you health and success in the years ahead, just as we wish for the nation you serve."

Kato told the troops that although the two cultures differ, US troops represent Japan's 'samurai spirit.' "Samurai serve with valor, with honor, with loyalty, with respectful, ethical behavior, and so have you."

After a feast of Japanese cuisine, Japanese Self Defense Forces officers taught the guests how to fold origami cranes. "We make a crane to show our deepest compassion. This evening's dinner is a metaphor for a large paper crane.

Hat tip: Gazing at the Flag