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Sadako and the 1,000 Peace Cranes

February 28, 2020

Sadako, after being diagnosed with leukemia from radiation caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, was told by her friend to fold origami paper cranes in hope of making a thousand of them. Sadako was inspired to do so by the Japanese legend that one who created a thousand origami cranes would be granted a wish. Her wish was simply to live through her disease so she could continue with her running team which was her dream.

Stories vary, but one story says she managed to fold only 644 cranes before she became too ill to fold any more. She died at age 12 as a result of leukemia. Her friends helped finished her dream by folding the rest of the cranes which were buried with Sadako.

After her death, Sadako’s friends and schoolmates raised money to build a memorial to her and all of the children who had died from the effects of the atomic bomb. The statue where she holds a wire crane was unveiled in 1958. At the foot of the statue is a plaque that reads: “This is our cry. This our prayer. Peace on Earth.”

As we enter the 2020 Lenten season, peace on Earth has not become our way of life. The array of cranes filling the sanctuary at Catonsville Presbyterian Church serves as a reminder of the need for each of us to engage in bringing peace to our world, our country, our workplace, our schools, and our homes. Before and during worship, may the cranes remind and inspire each of us to explore what we can do, share, and say to strengthen our efforts in peacemaking this Lenten season.