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Sadako Sasaki was only two years old when the atomic bomb exploded over her city in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, instantly killing 90, 000 people. 10 years later she died of leukemia, as a result of radiation from that bomb. Japanese legend holds that anyone who folds a thousand origami paper cranes will be granted a wish. Sadako wished to be well, but when she died before reaching her goal, her friends and family finished them in her honor. Her courageous struggle with her illness eventually became the inspiration for a monument to memorialize all the children struck down by that bomb.
Today, people all over the world, after hearing Sadako’s story, fold garlands of a thousand paper peace cranes and send them to Hiroshima. I’m very proud to be among those that are ‘folding for peace’. Today was the monthly meeting of a global interfaith peace group that I am a part of, United Religions Initiatives,( URI) . We used our local chapter meeting time today to drink tea (Japanese style) and to fold origami cranes, with the intention of working together with other peacemakers, churches, girl scouts, Sunday School classes and anyone else that wants to take part in our efforts to make a garland of 1,000 cranes which we’ll be sending to the statue located in Hiroshima’s Peace Park this coming August. There, our garlands will combine with others from different faiths and cultures to show a solidarity for peace. Over 45 countries are actively considering embarking upon nuclear power programs. Will watching television reruns or playing video games bring peace to our world? No. Will folding paper peace cranes resolve the problem? It’s a start. And here’s the thing: Working in community is funner (I know, I know, but that’s so FUN to say!) and far more effective than working alone, no matter what the project. Reweaving my connection with community is the best way I know of to begin the transition to the more peaceful and just world that I dream of. If we collectively plan and act early enough, we can create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more fulfilling than the one we find ourselves in today. If you’d like to join this effort to fold a thousand cranes, whether working with URI or with your kids at the kitchen table, just let me know!
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