EDMOND — Eight-year-old Chase Roberts doesn't know a lot about history, but that didn't stop him from sending a positive message to people halfway around the world.
Chase took part in the YMCA's Hiroshima Peace Lantern Project on Monday during the arts and craft portion of his day at camp. The lanterns will be sent to the Hiroshima YMCA and floated down the Motoyasu River to honor the victims of the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bomb dropped on the city.
YMCA camps throughout the United States, including the Oklahoma City metro area, are participating.
Chase doesn't know much about that yet, but he was in the spirit of the occasion while working on his lantern.
“I had fun drawing the symbols on it because I really like to draw,” he said. “They are symbols of hope. I think I have about 15 of them on mine. Then we're going to send it to Japan.”
The lanterns will float past the Children's Peace Monument, inspired by a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki who developed leukemia from the bomb's radioactive fallout.
The girl believed if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured. She fell short of that goal, but her memory lives on.
A positive message
YMCA camp counselor Samantha Anderson said the children who took part in the project at the Edmond camp enjoyed it.
“They don't know a lot about history just yet, but it's a good steppingstone into what they're going to learn later on in school,” Anderson said. “So it might be a little deep for them now, but it's something they might look back on. I can see it in their eyes. They want to send a positive message.”
One camper drew a picture of a Thunder logo, among other symbols. Even if the kids don't completely understand the historical implications of what happened, they know it was an important event that was difficult for those who lived through it.
“I think it's a great opportunity for them to be creative and show their artistic abilities,” Anderson said. “It sends a positive message, and that's important for any kid.”