CranesforPeace - St Aidans High School
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Cranes for Peace The Sadako Sasaki story.
In the beginning… • HIROSHIMA - A once a peaceful city on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea….
… became a supply and logistics base for the Japanese military and was so right up until World War II …
… maybe this was why on August 6th 1945, the Enola Gay (a U.S. B-29 bomber) dropped a nuclear weapon nick-named Little Boy onto the city below.
This nuclear attack resulted in the deaths of an estimated 80,000 innocent civilians. The city, of course, lay in ruins.
The city has since been rebuilt as a “peace memorial city”, and the city strongly backs the abolition of the use of nuclear weapons. In it is the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, in this park stands a statue of Sadako Sasaki, originally a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing who later became a victim of the after effects of nuclear warfare.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is a far cry from the savage ruins the city was left in after the devastating bomb.
Sadako Sasaki was born in 1943. She was just two years old when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She was one of the lucky ones to survive.
Sadako was a happy and healthy child. She was athletic and loved to take part in sports….
… until one day, Sadako was practising for a big race when she became dizzy and fell to the ground. It was 1955, and Sadako was only 11 years old. She was taken into hospital.
The air, water, and surrounding areas of Hiroshima were affected by the nuclear bomb that had been dropped 10 years earlier, lots of people became sick as a result of the remaining radiation and toxins. Sadako was one of them and at 11 years of age, she was diagnosed with Leukemia, known in Hiroshima as the “atom bomb” disease.
A friend of Sadako told her that there was an old Japanese legend which said that anyone who folds 1000 paper cranes would be granted one wish…
…hoping that she would become well enough to run again, Sadako set about folding paper cranes, using the Japanese art of Origami.
Unfortunately, Sadako passed away that year, on October 25th. She was 12 years old. While she was ill, Sadako had folded over 1000 cranes, (many were made out of labels from her medicine bottles), but she never ever gave up, despite her wish not coming true. She still tried and carried on, right up until she died.
Sadako’s determination was an inspiration for her friends and those who knew her. They began to dream of a monument for her that would be symbol of hope and the determination to carry on no matter what…
They also wanted the memorial to stand for all of the children who had lost their lives as a result of the atomic bomb those who died instantly, and those like Sadako who died later.
Young people from all over Japan helped to collect money for the project, and soon the friends of Sadako had enough money for the monument which was unveiled in 1958. The Statue shows Sadako holding a golden crane. Every year thousands of people fold and send paper cranes to the monument in recognition of the way Sadako never gave up and in hope of peace.
The friends of Sadako put this inscription at the bottom of the monument…
“ This is our cry, this is our prayer, Peace in the world.”
A letter from one of Sadako’s friends Sadako wouldn’t have died if there had been no war. I wonder why people of the world can’t get along well. Innocent children were killed by such a horrible thing one after another. I wonder how adults feel about such things just sitting by and watching them dying without saying anything. I can’t be silent anymore. I’d like to appeal to people of the world for banning atomic and hydrogen bombs. Atomic bombs remind me of sadako because Sadako was very vigorous, but she died.
So why cranes? • In Japan the crane is known as ‘the bird of happiness’. • A leader named Kakamura in the 11th century released hundreds of cranes to give thanksgiving after a successful battle. Attached to the leg was a prayer to pray for those killed in battle. • This is the first recording of the crane being associated with peace and prayers for those lost in war. • The crane is also a symbol of prosperity and good health and is often given as a gift to those who are ill.