Friday, March 20, 2009

Paper Cranes

Sadako Sasaki was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and although she grew up seeming healthy, she later developed radiation-induced leukemia. In the hospital Sadako began folding origami cranes, inspired by the Japanese legend that anyone who folded 1,000 cranes was granted a wish.

You might have read the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, which depicts her falling short of her goal, only having folded 644 before her death, and her classmates folded the rest for her. In fact, she did fold 1,000 and then some, using medicine wrappers and whatever other scraps of papers she could get ahold of, and she folded her desire to live into each crane.

Sadly, Sadako died at the age of twelve, but her memory lives on. Ever since her story became well known, people from around the world have sent origami cranes to the Children's Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Park. The cranes have become a symbol and a wish for peace, and appear all over Hiroshima, including here on manhole covers.

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