Remembering Hiroshima on August 6th 2011

 

At a Hiroshima Memorial gathering in Coventry, the following story was told:

War has lasting effects. Long after the aggression has ceased negative effects remain. 

The story of Sadako Sasaki provides a starting point for this discussion on the need for peace. Sadako was a baby of two on August 6, 1945, unaware of the war that raged around her. On that day she lost more than her grandmother as an atomic bomb reduced the city of Hiroshima to a desert of destruction and radioactive wasteland. She survived the initial blast with seemingly no ill effects. 

Ten years passed and Sadako grew strong and swift. It was as she was practicing for a competition that she crumpled to the track and was taken to the hospital. There her worst fears were confirmed. She had developed leukemia as a result of her exposure to radiation. 

During her long hospital stays, Sadako began to fold paper cranes. According to Japanese legend, if an individual folds 1000 paper cranes, a wish will be granted. With each crane she folded, the wish was the same-to get well. October of 1955, Sadako folded her last crane-number 644,and she quietly became another of the many casualties of a war that had ended ten years earlier. 

Her classmates finished the remaining 366 cranes to honor Sadako’s memory and to share in her wish that such bombs of destruction would never be used again. The children told Sadako’s story to the world by sharing the letters they had exchanged during her hospital stay. 

In 1958, a monument was erected in Hiroshima’s Peace Park to honor Sadako and all of the children who died because of the bombs.

This monument has become an international symbol of peace. Every year thousands of children visit the memorial bringing chains of folded cranes to lay at the base. Each crane is a prayer for peace-prayers and wishes that number in the millions. 

This version was taken from the website of Linda Kreft, a contributor to Outreach World  – an online community of educators.

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Reference was also made to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial – the Genbaku Dome – which was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945.

Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. 

Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. 

The compelling pictorial evidence of the Genbaku Dome and the Fukushima accident supports the wishes of many that the world be cleansed of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.

This post was prompted by commemoration and concern shared at Quaker Meeting on Sunday, 7th August following the Hiroshima Service of Remembrance at Coventry Cathedral on Saturday, 6th August.  

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