People reflect on peace during “Sadako Walk”

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Peace-related events were held on October 25, the anniversary of the death of Sadako Sasaki, a girl who was exposed to the atomic bombing at the age of 2 and passed away of leukemia caused by the bomb’s radiation when she was 12. These events in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park were designed to console the souls of the A-bomb victims.

A non-governmental organization established by Masahiro Sasaki, 67, Sadako’s older brother and a resident of Fukuoka Prefecture, and others organized the “Sadako Walk.” About 120 people, ranging in age from 1 to 77, including Sadako’s younger sister, 62, and brother, 59, both from Fukuoka, took part.

The participants divided into two groups, one for a 3-kilometer walk and the other for a 10-kilometer walk, and departed from the south side of Peace Memorial Museum. Reflecting on the importance of peace, they walked to various locations, including the Children’s Peace Monument built half a century ago as a result of the campaign initiated by Sadako’s classmates after her death.

Masahiro Sasaki seemed pleased with the Sadako Walk, commenting, “Even when she wasn’t feeling well, Sadako acted in good spirits so our family wouldn’t worry. I think the consideration Sadako showed to us symbolizes peace itself. I’m moved that so many people have taken time to think about her with me on the anniversary of her death.”

About 160 employees of the Chugoku headquarters of Ioi Insurance Company located in downtown Hiroshima picked up litter and raked fallen leaves in Peace Memorial Park. Takashi Matsumoto, 57, the general manager, dedicated paper cranes folded by their colleagues in Tokyo to the Children’s Peace Monument.

(Originally published on October 26, 2008)

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