As some of you know we are just around the corner from the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s 17th annual Sadako Peace Day. While this day holds special significance for us at the Foundation, it also serves as a reminder of our role as a human race to wage peace and use our voices as a source of power.
When we think back about the great peace leaders in history they all seem to recognize one thing: the power of voice. I mean think about it- What would the world be like if on August 28th 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. only thought, “I have a dream.” What about if in 1873 Susan B. Anthony decided that giving a speech on women’s right to vote would be better left unsaid? After all, she had just been arrested for casting an illegal vote in the presidential election.
German-Swiss poet and novelist, Herman Hesse, once said “Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” And he’s right; the power of voice is the best tool we have to stand up for what we believe in. It is able to transcend time, promote social change, and advocate a safer nuclear-weapons free world for generations to come.
So I have to admit, when I first learned about the power of voice I was skeptical. I thought, 'sure it must be easy to inspire and unite the masses once you have perfected the art of oratory like John F. Kennedy or Malcom X, but most of us have not mastered the skills of communication.' That is where Sadako Sasaki comes in.
Sadako Sasaki was only two-years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Ten years later she was diagnosed with leukemia and made it her dying wish to spread peace on the wings of 1000 paper cranes. This courageous little girl said, “I will write peace on your wings, and you will fly all over the world.” Sadako was not a professional speaker or wizard of words, but she was able to able to leave her legacy through her heartfelt message and compassion for humanity. And like the great peace leaders throughout history, she recognized the power of her own voice.
Since Sadako’s death, children and adults from countries all over the world honor her spirit by creating paper cranes as symbols of peace. Many of them even travel to the Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima where they bring their own folded paper cranes as a message of peace and desire for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In memory of Sadako let us be reminded that we can protect our world through the power of our own voice, no matter how average that voice may be.