This year marks the 65th anniversary of one of the most disastrous and tragic events in the history of humankind. Hiroshima Day is observed in many parts of the world with special vigils and peace marches. It is held to commemorate the dropping of the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Watch this video of a survivor describing the Hiroshima bombing. Three days later a second bomb fell on the city of Nagasaki. "Peace Day" was declared on the first anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima by the Japanese to try to ensure that the horrendous, enduring effects of nuclear warfare would never be repeated.
Let Peace on Earth Begin with Me
Sadako Sasaki was two years old when Hiroshima was bombed. Ten years later, she contracted leukemia, which had become known in Japan as the "Atom Bomb Disease." While hospitalized, Sadako’s closest friend reminded her of an ancient Japanese legend. If she folded a thousand paper cranes, the gods might grant her wish to live. Although she did not reach her goal of 1000 cranes, her struggle for life and her dedication to peace inspired her classmates to construct a Peace Statue for all children who were victims of the atomic bombing of Japan. This statue, completed in 1958, stands in the Peace Park in Hiroshima with the inscription, "This is our cry. This is our prayer. To create peace in the world." Ever since, mountains of origami cranes have been sent to Hiroshima for Peace Day in affirmation of this prayer.
We also folded 1000 cranes at the Salem Church Library. Our intention is to hang the 1000 cranes in the library in unity with the annual observance of Peace Day in Japan on the anniversary of the bombing. The garlands of cranes were created by patrons of all ages. We have been inspired by this collaborative effort and by Sadako’s story. We hope that you, too, will be inspired by this reminder of the universal importance of working together toward a common goal. Creating Peace, in many ways, is like folding a crane. At first it seems impossible, but step by step, with patience, intent and concentration emerges a peace crane, beautiful and full of grace.
Want to read more about Sadako Sasaki or other information related to Hiroshima and World War II? Find these recommended titles and more with our online catalog:
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
The Last Train from Hiroshima : The Survivors Look Back by Charles Pellegrino