A Rebranding Miracle!: The Most San Franciscan of Christmas Trees

A decade ago, the pope — who ought to know such things — expounded on the symbolism of the Christmas tree.

Its evergreen, unchanging nature, per John Paul II, "exalts the value of life." Gifts beneath it epitomize "Christ, God's greatest gift to all men."

Well, that's what the Vatican's tree represents. San Francisco, however, hosts a different sort of flora.

Quasi-religious public installations could raise hackles here. But it'd take someone with a heart three sizes smaller than the Grinch's to bemoan City Hall's "World Tree of Hope." The 25-foot-tall conifer is bedecked with 12,000 origami cranes, a nod to Sadako Sasaki. She's the Hiroshima victim who set out to fold 1,000 cranes — and earn a wish — but expired on No. 644.

Just try objecting. But wait: Each crane carries wishes penned by luminaries ranging from Isabel Allende to President Obama and folded by volunteers including Hiroshima survivors, children, and prisoners serving life sentences at San Quentin.

David Arquette and Courtney Cox's crane, incidentally, wishes "love to all of those in search of it."

There is, certainly, a snide quip regarding this statement emanating from a divorced couple. But, in the spirit of the World Tree of Hope, it shall be left unmade.

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