Ceremony is held at Children’s Peace Monument to reflect on loss and life

by Teru Matsumoto, Staff Writer

A memorial ceremony in front of the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was held on July 25. The event was organized by Noboricho Junior High School, the school where Sadako Sasaki, the Japanese girl who became the inspiration for the monument, had been enrolled prior to her death from A-bomb-related leukemia. This year’s ceremony, the 25th, brought together a total of 450 people from 35 elementary schools and junior high schools across Hiroshima, including students from Noboricho Junior High School.

Following a moment of silence, 11 second- and third-year students from Asa Junior High School in Asaminami Ward read out a poem on the atomic bombing. Seventy-nine first-year students from Noboricho Junior High School then sang a song entitled “Hiroshima no aru kuni de” (“In the Land Where Hiroshima Lies”), which appeals for the preciousness of life. Representatives from each of the participating schools offered chains of paper cranes to the monument.

Mari Kanie, 15, a third-year student and president of the student council at Noboricho Junior High School, said to the gathering, “The number of people who experienced the war and the atomic bombing is declining. Let us think about the importance of peace in our daily lives.”

Sadako Sasaki was exposed to the atomic bombing at the age of two and died of radiation-induced leukemia ten years later. Her death prompted a fundraising campaign to raise a monument dedicated to children and the Children’s Peace Monument was unveiled in May 1958.

(Originally published on July 26, 2013)