Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sadako Peace Day Reminder

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Director of Programs Rick Wayman will be the featured speaker at the 16th Annual Sadako Peace Day ceremony, Friday August 6, at the Sadako Peace Garden at La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Road, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

His theme will be “Persistence and Dedication.” He will discuss the importance of working for a world free of nuclear weapons in spite of opposition – and why the support of many people is required for progress to be made towards nuclear weapons abolition. Wayman guides all programs at the Foundation – including worldwide efforts to educate and motivate people to work for nuclear disarmament.

The August 6th Sadako Peace Day ceremony will also feature poetry from several local poets, including Santa Barbara’s Poets Laureate Emeriti, Perie Longo and Barry Spacks and Glenna Luschei, Poet Laureate Emerita of San Luis Obispo. Bob Sedivy will provide beautiful, evocative music on the shakuhachi or traditional bamboo flute. And Janice Freeman-Bell will sing accompanied by Chris O’Connell on Native American flute.

Background: Many people know the story of the brave, athletic Japanese girl named Sadako. She was only 12 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She had been exposed to radiation from the Hiroshima atomic bomb at the age of two. She started folding origami paper cranes after a friend reminded her of a legend: if a person folds a thousand cranes, he or she will live to be very old. As Sadako folded the cranes, she would say these words:

“I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world.”

Sadako had intimate knowledge of the costs of war and nuclear attack. Her health was waning, yet her wish was to spread peace. Sadako set out to fold 1,000 cranes. There are differing accounts of how successful she was. One book says that she folded 644 before dying. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum says she folded 1,000 and began work on another set of 1,000. However many cranes Sadako folded, students in Japan were moved by her story and began to fold cranes, too.

The paper crane has become a global symbol of peace, and a statue of Sadako now stands in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and La Casa de Maria dedicated the Sadako Peace Garden in Santa Barbara, California.

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