Monday, August 06, 2007

The Paper Cranes

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the bomb was dropped on her home city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Saduko seemed to escape any ill effects after her exposure to the bomb, until, ten years later, she developed leukemia, "the atom bomb disease."

While she was in the hospital, her friend Chizuko brought her a folded paper crane and told her the story about it. According to Japanese legend, the crane lives for a thousand years, and a sick person who folds a thousand cranes will become well again.

Sadako folded cranes throughout her illness. The flock hung above her bed on strings. When she died at the age of twelve, Sadako had folded six hundred forty-four cranes. Classmates folded the remaining three hundred and fifty-six cranes, so that one thousand were buried with Sadako.

In 1958, with contributions from school children, a statue was erected on Hiroshima Peace Park, dedicated to Sadako and all the children who were killed by the atomic bomb.

Each year, on August 6, Peace Day, thousands of paper cranes are placed beneath Sadako's statue by people who wish to remember Hiroshima and express their hopes for a peaceful world. Their prayer is engraved on the base of the statue:
This is our cry, this is our prayer; peace in the world.
My mother, a former school teacher, read this tonight at my father's side as I held my his fasciculating hand. She had saved this story with a million other papers that she found poignant. I know she did not realize the date. I'm convinced God wanted it read.

Peace in the world. May you find peace, too, Dad.


Reference "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes," by Eleanor Coerr.

The Sadaku Statue.

1 comment:

twilite said...

Thank you for posting this story of 1000 paper cranes reminding us the aftermath of the accursed war years and generations later.