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   Volume 81 - Issue 17 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“Don’t allow yourself to be confused into voting for the wrong person.”
- Ted Menzies  
   
   

 

Sparwood man killed near Crowsnest Lake
John Kinnear photos
How Hiroki Spelled Lorraine. Inset: A Folded Paper Crane
Looking Back - John Kinnear A couple of Saturdays ago I dropped by the N.I.T.(Nippon Institute of Technology Inter-Cultural Campus) special gathering and auction to show my support for the efforts to raise money for the Japanese tsunami relief effort. It was a wonderful time with lots of local art donated, a traditional tea ceremony being conducted in the old church choir loft and Japanese students showing off their writing ability and origami skills for the visitors. A student named Hiroki wrote out my wife Lorraine’s name in traditional and modern Japanese and in English for her. She noted that her name seemed quite short and was informed that it was because there is no letter L or R in their language.
As I turned away from Hiroki I noticed a display of origami on a table and amongst the intricately folded pieces I spotted a bright green folded crane. A touching story I had researched some time back came to me then about a little Japanese girl named Sadako and a legacy her life and death has created that continues to perpetuate itself throughout the world.

It all started over 65 years ago on August 6th, 1945 when a sinister device innocuously called "Little Boy" killed over 140,000 people in Hiroshima in an instant and left thousands more suffering from massive radiation burns. In the years that followed that unprecedented act another legacy of death surfaced because of “Little Boy”. It came in the form of cancer, primarily leukemia, a cruel cancer of the blood. It attacked mostly children and the Japanese of Hiroshima called it the "A-Bomb Disease".
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Submitted photo
Sadako Sasaki - The Inspired Child
Ten years after Hiroshima a 12 year old girl named Sadako Sasaki collapsed while running a relay race for her 6th grade class. Sadako was until that moment a vibrant, lovely human being who lived to run and make her family and classmates proud. She was diagnosed shortly after with leukemia and hospitalized.
She was only two years old when the "thunderbolt", as they referred to it, struck and remembered it as "the flash of a million suns that prickled her eyes like needles". Sadako was a mile and a half from the epicenter of the Enola Gay's deadly attack and was relatively uninjured by the initial blast. It took some time for the invisible hand of radioactive aftermath to end her life.
While in hospital Sadako's best friend Chizuko Hamamota came to see her and brought with her a large square of golden paper. Using the ancient art of origami she folded that paper over and over until it formed a beautiful crane.
 
She told Sadako an old story about cranes living for a thousand years and that: "If a sick person folds a thousand paper cranes the gods will grant her wish and make her well again". The tradition is known as "senbazuru".
Sadako began folding cranes, at first wishing for her health and later as she grew weaker, wishing instead for world peace and an end to wars that could have such a devastating effect on children. Gradually the atom bomb disease took away Sadako's energy. She endured terrible pain, throbbing headaches and dizzy spells. At times she claimed it felt like her bones were on fire. Around the middle of October, Sadako's leg turned purple and became swollen. She died in her sleep on October 25, 1955, having only folded 644 cranes.
Her classmates who had remained steadfastly at her side picked up the torch and folded the remaining 356 cranes in time for her funeral. Then 39 of her friends formed a club and began raising money for a monument. On May 5, 1958, 3 years after they started, the Children's Peace Monument at Hiroshima Peace Park was unveiled. It was a result of the contributions of students from over 3,000 schools in Japan and from 9 other countries. They formed a paper crane club to care for the monument and also visit those who are sick and old or who need help. They fold cranes and send them to world leaders or drape them around visitors and dignitaries who come to Hiroshima. The monument is a statue of Sadako. She is standing on the Mountain of Paradise, holding a golden crane in outstretched hands. Each year on Peace Day the children of Hiroshima hang garlands of paper cranes under the statue. Their wish is engraved at its base. It reads: "This is our cry, this is our prayer: Peace in the world."
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Submitted photo
Sadako Memorial at the Genbaku Dome
Sadako Sasaki has become a symbol of how war impacts innocent people and reminds us especially of the dangers of nuclear war. In Japan, she is a hero for many girls. People in Japan celebrate August 6 as the National Peace Day. We must never forget Sadako nor should we ever forget the terrible toll that “Little Boy” took on the Japanese civilian population.
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   Volume 81 - Issue 17 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: news@passherald.ca   $1.00   
 
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