‘I will write Peace on your wings
and you will fly all over the world.’
Those were the words that a 12-year old girl named Sadako Sasaki wrote about her cranes she folded as she was battling leukemia.
August 6, 1945 – Little Boy hit Hiroshima. In an instant, the lives of 80000 people vanished. Another 60000 would suffer and die from the radiation effects caused by the atomic bomb. Sadako would be one of those who suffered the latter. Her friend told her about a Japanese legend that if a person folds 1000 paper cranes, the gods would grant the person their wish to become well again. So Sadako folded and folded. One story said she got to 644 before she succumbed to her leukemia. But her friends didn’t allow Sadako to just die and be forgotten. They finished the 1000 paper cranes and raised money to build a statue of Sadako, to remember her and to honor the memory of all the children who died as a result of the first ever unleashed atomic bomb. How ironic it was that a “Little Boy” killed so many children then.
(The grim reality is that Sadako did hit 1000 but kept going when she did not get better.)
As I walked around Hiroshima Peace Park, I pondered if “world peace” could truly be achieved. Wars are fought because of the greed of a few people and rarely the necessity of millions. Innocent people are dying everywhere and everyday in this world, all because some people are not willing to share. (I am not completely innocent either. I think it is human to be even a little selfish.)
During my walk, I came across a big group of schoolchildren. They were standing in front of Sadako’s statue, on a monument called Children’s Peace Monument. She was holding up a crane to the world.
What put a smile on my face was when they began singing a beautiful song that, although I couldn’t understand in language, I felt and understood with my heart. I am a normally a pessimist-realist. But that day, I felt a little optimism.
These days, kids from all around the world fold paper cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed here at the Children’s Peace Monument. In the end, Sadako’s paper cranes did fly all over the world.
This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
Peace in the world.
For more pictures of my 2018 trip to Japan, click here.