Sadako Peace Garden
"I will write peace on your wings and
you will fly all over the world."
The Sadako Peace Garden is a natural garden for
reflection and inspiration located at La Casa de Maria Retreat
Center in Santa Barbara, California. It is a joint project of
the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and La Casa de Maria. The garden
was designed as a contribution to peace by landscape architect
Isabelle Greene and artist Irma Cavat.
Sadako Sasaki, a young survivor of Hiroshima, developed
leukemia at age 12, ten years after an atomic bomb was dropped
on Hiroshima. Doctors believed that her leukemia was attributed
radiation poisoning from the atomic bomb. There is a traditional
belief in Japan that if one folds 1,000 paper cranes, one's wish
will come true. Sadako began folding cranes to attain her wish
to get well and achieve world peace, but she died with only 646
cranes folded. Her classmates finished folding the cranes after
Sadako's death. Today a statue of Sadako stands in the Peace Memorial
Park in Hiroshima, and people all over the world fold cranes for
On the Casa de Maria Retreat Center grounds, the
Sadako Peace Garden was dedicated on August 6, 1995, the 50th
anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The garden was
dedicated to Frank K. Kelly and Barbara Mandigo Kelly, both committed
peace workers, and to all who work for peace, justice, and a world
free of nuclear weapons.
At the dedication ceremony, the keynote speaker
was Dr. Walter Kohn, a distinguished theoretical physicist and
Nobel Prize laureate who initiated the Peace Garden Project through
the Education Committee of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. In
his address, Dr. Kohn remembered the innocent victims of Hiroshima,
Nagasaki, and all victims of war throughout the world.
Sadako Peace Day is an annual event commemorated
each August 6th at Sadako Peace Garden in Santa Barbara, California.
At the Sadako Peace Day Ceremony this year (1999), nearly 75 people
attended the ceremony which included introductory remarks by Don
George, the director of La Casa de Maria; original music by Janice
Freeman and Chris O'Connell; a discussion on 20th Century nuclear
terrorism by UCSB professor Mark Juergensmeyer; poetry readings;
an oboe solo by Harry Sargous; a Shakuhachi duet by Harry Sargous
from the Music Academy of the West and Mark Kennedy; and a speech
by Dr. Walter Kohn who said that this was "the worst of centuries
and the best of centuries. Einstein and Bohr gave us relativity
and we had World Wars I and II which were incomparable in the
breadth of their destruction. Artists from Artists For Peace provided
instruction in folding paper cranes similar to those sent to be
hung in the garden by children in schools throughout the world.
On that day the final speaker was Hiro Takeda, a hibakusha and
resident of Santa Barbara. Mr. Takeda quietly and powerfully related
his personal experience in Hiroshima on the day of the bombing
and during the weeks and months afterward. David Krieger, president
of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation provided concluding remarks
which encouraged everyone to become informed about contemporary
nuclear issues, to recognize the imperative for peace in the Nuclear
Age, and to strengthen our efforts in working for a nuclear-free
world. He stated, "We remember Hiroshima not for the past,
but for the future...Nuclear weaons are not weapons at all. They
are a symbol of an imploding human spirit...we are part of a greater
community gathered throughout the world to commemorate this day,
seeking to turn Hiroshima to Hope."
Visiting Sadako Peace Garden
The garden is located on the grounds of La Casa
de Maria, a retreat center in Montecito, which is a suburb of
the city of Santa Barbara on the central coast of California.
The address is 800 El Bosque Road, Montecito CA 93108. To make
arrangements to visit Sadako Peace Garden, or for further information,
write or call La Casa de Maria at (805) 969-5031 or the Nuclear
Age Peace Foundation at (805) 965-3443.