Anyone who studies Hiroshima and the atomic bombing is likely to encounter the story of a girl named Sadako.
Sadako Sasaki experienced the atomic bombing at the age of two. Struck by leukemia ten years later, her short life ended. Sadako was one of the many children who suffered and died because of the atomic bomb.
On the morning of August 6, air-raid sirens sounded just after 7:00 a.m. After a while, the all-clear sounded, and people began to move about their daily lives again. Sadako, her grandmother, her mother, and brother Masahiro were eating breakfast together.
The walls of the house toppled, and Sadako and the others were thrown. Masahiro and grandmother were injured but, miraculously, Sadako and her mother were unharmed. Somehow, all escaped from the collapsed house and fled toward the river. Along the way, Sadako’s grandmother turned back to get something from the house. She was never seen again.
Someone helped the family into a small, decrepit boat to save them from the fires. Though only four at the time, Masahiro remembers desperately bailing water. While the family was on the boat, rain began to fall. The rain left black splotches on Sadako’s clothes.
The war ended. Gradually, buildings were erected and people returned to the city where the rumor had spread that “nothing will grow for 75 years.” The Sasaki family reopened their barbershop in the heart of Hiroshima.
Ten years after the atomic bombing, life returned to normal for Hiroshima City and its people. However, something was wrong with Sadako’s body.
Though an atomic bombing survivor, Sadako had a healthy, energetic child who never missed a day of elementary school due to illness. She was a gentle caretaker of her younger sister and brother. She loved singing and sports-in fact, Sadako could outrun anyone in her class.Soon after winning the relay on Field Day, there were signs that something was wrong with Sadako. She caught a cold and felt a stiffness in her neck. When the cold went away, the stiffness stayed. By early 1955, Sadako’s face looked swollen.
After undergoing various tests, the doctor told Shigeo in February, “Sadako has leukemia. She has a year left at the most.” Sadako was admitted to the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital.
In August, 1000 paper cranes folded by high school students in Nagoya were delivered to the patients in the hospital. Sadako’s room, too, was brightened by cellophane cranes folded in many colors.
Receiving those cranes and hearing the legend, “Fold 1000 paper cranes and your wish will come true,” Sadako began to fold paper cranes herself. She threw herself into the task, folding into each crane the desire: “Let me get well.”
On the morning of October 25, Sadako’s life finally ended. She was 12 years old. It was exactly a year since the her Bamboo class had won the relay on Field Day.
Sadako’s former Bamboo classmates began a movement to raise funds for a monument. Their call elicited a huge response that they had not anticipated. More than 3000 schools around Japan sent money and letters saying, “Please use this to help build the monument.” In January 1957, it was officially decided to build the Children’s Peace Monument in Peace Memorial Park. The statue was completed on Children’s Day ( 5 May ) in 1958, two years after Sadako Sasaki’s death.
Though Sadako and the other children who had passed away would not return, the inscription carved into the stone in front of the monument at least carried the hope, “Let no more children fall victim to an atomic bombing.”
This is our cry.
This is our prayer.
For building peace in the world.
My necklace, Steel Sakura, began with polymer clay beads from the very talented jewellery artist, Christine Damm at Stories They Tell.
They were inspired by an antique kimono. Christine made the earrings, combining her polymer clay oblongs with silver blossom beads from Lynn Johnson at Artful Market. I added the same silver beads to the necklace, with brass chain from AD Adornments and a silver toggle from La Perlerie, to give the piece the strength of a samurai. The pendant was made in Heather Bell Denison’s art clay silver class at BeadFX.
Story source: Sadako and the Atomic Bombing.