Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on her home
city of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Sadako seemed to have escaped the ill effects
of the bombing until, ten years later, she developed leukemia, “the atom
bomb disease”. While she was in the Red Cross Hospital, multi-colored paper cranes
were sent by people in Nagoya to the hospital to encourage the patients. Sadako
knew the Japanese legend of the crane: that they live for a thousand years, and
someone who folds a thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish. Inspired by the
bright, cheerful cranes, Sadako began to fold her own paper cranes; with each
crane, she also folded in her desire to get well.
Sadako folded over 1300 cranes, but, unfortunately, did not get her wish; she
died at the age of twelve. Inspired by Sadako’s struggle, her classmates and
schoolchildren from 3200 schools throughout Japan and nine countries raised the
money to build the Children’s Peace Monument in 1958 in Hiroshima Peace Park.This
monument, with a sculpture of Sadako holding a crane high above her head for all to
see, honors the memory of all the children who died as a result of the atom bomb
being dropped on Hiroshima. The paper crane became a universal symbol of peace,
and thousands of cranes are sent to Hiroshima every year, where they are displayed
in cabinets around the monument.
At the base of the monument inspired by this one girl are the words:
“This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world”.
To discover what led me to personally deliver 2000 origami cranes to the Children’s Peace
Monument in Hiroshima Peace Park, Japan, please click on the HiroshimaOdyssey link below: