Sadako’s brother shares her wish for peace with school teachers from the U.S.

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

This past May, the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park marked the 50th anniversary of its unveiling. The likeness for the bronze figure standing atop the monument is the late Sadako Sasaki. On July 15, in front of the monument, Sadako’s elder brother, Masahiro, 67, a resident of Fukuoka Prefecture, spoke with a group of school teachers from the United States about the children who contributed to the construction of the memorial.

The group of teachers, consisting of ten junior high and high school teachers from New York, was visiting Japan on a study tour. Mr. Sasaki told them about his younger sister, who was exposed to the bombing at the age of two and died at 12, after folding paper cranes during her hospital stay in the hope of recovering from her battle with leukemia. He also explained the background behind the creation of the monument and the children’s wish for peace expressed half a century ago by pointing to the engraved words, “This is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in the world.”

In September 2007, Mr. Sasaki donated one of the paper cranes that Sadako had folded in her hospital bed to the Tribute WTC Visitor Center in New York, a facility to pay respect to the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks that occurred in 2001. Asked by the teachers why he made this donation, Mr. Sasaki replied, “Bereaved families everywhere share the same feelings regardless of the cause of loss, whether due to the atomic bombing or the terrorist attacks. We need to ponder together how we can prevent the repetition of such tragedies and build a more peaceful world.”

Mr. Sasaki also guided the teachers through Peace Memorial Museum and shared his own A-bomb experience with them. Whitney Davidson, 28, a history teacher, commented, “I would like to teach children why we need to study about peace through Sadako’s story.”

(Originally published on July 16, 2008)

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