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Cranes and a Girl

By Maiko Nakai

On the morning of Aug. 6, 1945 before a horrible bomb fell on Hiroshima, a little two-year-old girl named Sadako Sasaki was eating breakfast with her family much like any other day.

At 8:15 a.m., everything changed. An atomic bomb exploded over the city of Hiroshima. The huge mushroom cloud went high up into the sky, the blast knocked down buildings. Fire burned patterns of kimonos into people’s bodies. Black rain beat down against them. An estimated 140, 000 people died as a result of the bomb and its after effects.

Sadako’s home was just a mile away from ground zero, but she was lucky enough to servive—at least at first. She grew up strong, courageous—an athletic girl who loved singing and running. But after some years she developed odd lumps on her neck, ears, and to her face. In Jan. 1955, purple spots started to form on her legs. One day, she fell down during her race practice. She was diagnosed with Leukemia. A year at the most—that was the time Sadako had left to live.

Then something beautiful happened. High school students from Nagoya sent 1000 cranes to Sadako and other patients in her hospital. And Sadako started making cranes herself. She believed in a myth that said 1000 cranes make a wish come true. “I want to run again,” Sadako said, and she never gave up the hope. For the last 10 months of her life she kept folding papers: one, two, three…thousand! But on Oct. 25, 1955, Sadako died at the age of 12. Even 1500 cranes could not keep her alive.

After her death, her schoolmates and friends raised funds to build a memorial to the children who died from the atomic bomb. About three years later, a statue called “Genbaku no Ko no Zo” or “Senba Zuru no Zo” was unveiled in the Hiroshima Peace Park on May 5, Children’s Day. The statue is a representation of Sadako holding a big golden crane above her head. There is a wish inscribed at the bottom: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world.” Still today cranes are sent to the memorial from all over the world. More than 10 tons, or 10 million cranes are dedicated to the statue annually.

And Sadako is still is there today too, hoping that her cranes someday bring peace to the world.


投稿者 maiko : 2007年03月16日 11:59