On August 6, 2003 the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation held its the 9th Annual Sadako Peace Day event to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic atomic bombing of Hiroshima with music, poetry, and inspiring words.
Sadako Peace Day celebrates the courage of Sadako Sasaki, a young survivor of Hiroshima, who developed leukemia at age twelve, ten years after the bombing. Following the Japanese legend that if one folds 1,000 paper cranes one’s wish will come true, Sadako began folding paper cranes, wishing to be well and to achieve world peace. She only folded 646 cranes before she died, and her classmates finished folding the cranes after her death. On August 6, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and La Casa de Maria inaugurated the Sadako Peace Garden in Montecito, California, where they have since held the Sadako Peace Day event every year.
The Mayor of Santa Barbara, Marty Blum, noted the importance of this year’s event, stating, “Your presence here today acknowledges the need to learn from the past.” In addition to Mayor Blum, several other moving speakers shared their insights on the struggle towards a more peaceful world, including Nuclear Age Peace Foundation President David Krieger, and Reverend Mark Asman. Reverend Asman asserted, “The message of nuclear power and might is a completely wrong message enshrined and encapsulated by fear.”
Jackson Kunz, a fifth grader at Marymount School, read a hopeful poem entitled World Peace by Sky McLeod, the winner of the 2002 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award, 12 and under category. Additional poems where read by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle and Perie Longo. Reflective music was performed by EdWing on the butterfly harp and zithers, Ming Freemen on keyboards, Claudia Kiser on cello, and Sudama Mark Kennedy on shakuhachi. Jim Villanueva, Executive Director of the La Casa de Maria, concluded the ceremony.
The Foundation would like to thank the public libraries in Venice, Florida and Coloma, Wisconsin for sending hundreds of beautiful paper cranes used to decorate the Sadako Peace Garden for the event. If you would like to be a part of next year’s Sadako Peace Day but are not in the Santa Barbara area, you can send your folded origami cranes to the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation at 1622 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. The origami paper crane is now recognized around the world as a symbol of peace.