“I will write PEACE on your wings and you will fly all around the world.” — Sadako Sasaki
In 1945 the first atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Many people became very sick years later with leukemia and other cancers. One such girl was named Sadako Sasaki. When she found out that she had the disease in 1955, she began to fold paper cranes. It is Japanese legend that folding 1000 cranes (senbazuru) so pleases the gods that the folder is granted a wish. Sadako wished to get well. So, after hearing the legend, Sadako decided to fold 1,000 cranes. When she died she had folded 644 cranes. Her story had such a profound impact on her friends and classmates that they completed her thousand cranes and raised enough money to build a statue to honor Sadako and all the children affected by the bomb. Today, in Hiroshima’s Peace Park, there is a statue of Sadako standing on top of a granite pedestal holding a golden crane in her outstretched arms. At its base a plaque reads: This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world. Sadako wrote in her journal: "I will write Peace on your wings and you will fly all around the world." Every year, children from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed around the statue. Because of Sadako, the paper crane has become an international symbol of peace. The paper origami crane is given as a prayer for recovery and good health as well as a way to celebrate a new marriage.