"This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world" A Thousand Paper Cranes

There once lived a little girl named Sadako Sasaki. She called Hiroshima, Japan home. She was two years old in 1945 when the atomic bomb was dropped to end World War Two. It took an instant to destroy the city and kill 140,000 citizens. A mile away, Sadako, her mother and father managed to survive. But they could not help breathing in the dust; the radiation that settled on the former city.

Sadako and her family rebuilt their lives and tried to put the horrific past behind them. Sadako was thoughtful, energetic, athletic; her mother’s favorite child. When she was eleven she discovered lumps on her neck and  purple splotches on her legs. She was diagnosed with leukemia or as her mother called it, atomic bomb disease. She was dying.

In Japanese tradition, when you have a fervent wish you fold one thousand paper cranes and the gods will grant your wish. Sadako hoped to get better and survive deadly leukemia. She also dreamed of a day where there wouldn’t be war and suffering but instead peace for humanity. Some people say Sadako folded the thousand cranes. Others say that she was not able to complete her task before dying and her classmates folded the rest of the cranes in her honor. Either way, Sadako is an inspiration of hope, of love, of strength.

The world, our world, is full of tragedy, of grief and sorrow. How do you move on? How do we remember to love one another when faced with pain? September 11th changed our world as much as the atomic bomb changed Sadako’s. On this tenth anniversary we must find a way to continue to learn and heal from such tragedy.

Children’s Peace Monument located in Peace Memorial Park Hiroshima, Japan.
Build in honor of Sadako by her classmates. 

Although Sadako’s paper cranes could not save her life they have flown to greater heights, becoming a symbol of hope for peace.  Her story, her legend lives on bringing understanding and hope to all who know her.

St. Philip School and Parish has decided to follow her example and fold one thousand paper cranes to commemorate September 11th. The cranes will be on the alter for Sunday masses. The Jr. High students have heard the story of Sadako and in art class will contribute to the paper crane folding. Other classes are learning about the importance of promoting world peace. All this is a beautiful example of how awareness and love for all humans can bring about change. Just as long as hope never dies.

Thank you Sadako Sasaki. You are an inspirations. Your kind heart and dedication has achieved something great!

To read a fictional account of Sadako’s story check out
 Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

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