THE STORY OF THE PEACE CRANE


 - how to make a crane










The crane is Japan’s national bird. The Japanese are famous for the art of paper-folding, called ‘origami’. In Japan, it is said that a person who folds 1,000 paper cranes will have a long and healthy life.

 On August 6, 1945, when Sadako Sasaki was almost 2 years old, an atom bomb was dropped by the American airforce on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Because her family lived on the outskirts, none of them was hurt. Sadako was a lively girl; she loved running and won many races. But 10 years after the bombing she became ill. She had leukaemia, which people began to call the A bomb sickness because many other children like her also became ill.

 In the hospital, Sadako decided to try to fold 1,000 cranes. It was easy at first but, as she became weaker and weaker, it became harder to make each fold. When she died, she had made only 644 cranes. Just before she died, she held up one of them and quietly said, ‘I will write “peace” on your wings and you will fly all over the world.’

 The story of this brave little girl spread and many people began to fold peace cranes to finish the job she’d begun. Today, a statue of a young girl stands in Hiroshima’s Peace Park. The words carved at the foot of the statue say, ‘This is our cry, this is our prayer: to establish peace in the world.’

Each year on Children’s Day, May 5, Japanese children visit the statue and cover it with thousands of paper cranes. They remember the children who died from the atom bomb and promise to do their very best to build a world of peace. And, in countries all around the world today, the paper crane is a symbol of peace and hope.

In the 1980s students of the International School, looking for a way to keep this message of peace alive, set up the 1000 Crane Club; they produced a booklet and asked groups of children world-wide to become members by sending 1000 paper cranes for Sadako's memorial. The first response came from an American school in 1986. Children, almost entirely unaided, had started a movement and established a globally recognised symbol of hope for peace.

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