千羽鶴 (Senbazuru).

A thousand paper cranes.

In Japanese mythology, cranes are mystical animals believed to have lived for a thousand years and bring luck and longevity. There is a legend in Japan that says if you can fold a thousand paper cranes, you will receive a wish, such as a long life or recovery from an illness.

On August 6, 1945, a nuclear bomb dropped in Hiroshima, Japan. A little girl only two years old named Sadako Sasaki had been in her home about two kilometers away from the explosion. Approximately ten years later, Sasaki was diagnosed with leukemia and was given, at most, a year to live.

According to the website maintained by her family, Sasaki was told of the legend of a thousand cranes. And after seeing other patients around her folding paper cranes in order to get a wish, she started on her own journey to fold cranes.

She lacked paper in the hospital, so she created these creatures with paper from get-well presents or wrappings from medicine bottles given to her. Her family and friends would often come by and help her fold more cranes as the days passed by.

By the end of August, Sasaki had folded a thousand cranes and continued to do so.

Sasaki passed away on October 25, 1955.

Of course, a legend is a legend. No one could predict what would happen with Sasaki, but unfortunately, she wasn’t able to survive the consequences of the bombing.

Perhaps the cranes didn’t listen to her wish. Perhaps they did, and she wished for something else instead. There is no final word on what Sasaki really wanted, and only she will know the truth.

This just helps to bring war into perspective.

About 80,000 victims died instantly in the Hiroshima bombing. Sadako Sasaki was just one of about 112,000 victims that later died as a result of its aftermath and radiation.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation holds an annual event around August 6th to remember Sadako Sasaki’s story and pay tribute to the victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.

As a result of war, innocent lives were taken.

Of course, this world will never be perfect. There will always be conflict, as it is normal behavior to show power through confrontation.

But stand up for peaceful solutions and try to find the best in a situation. Put yourselves in the shoes of those you fight against and understand them.

When the time comes, peace may turn your worst enemies into your best allies.

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