When World War II was coming to an end on 6th August 1945, United States carried out an atomic bomb attack against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagazaki. In a matter of seconds, two civilian populations were turned into ruins. This event is now remembered with the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, one of its objectives being to urge for nuclear disarmament. In 1996, this Memorial was declared a World Heritage Site.
The Children´s Peace Monument (see picture), also known as Thousand Cranes Monument is part of the Memorial. The monument remembers Sasaki Sadako, a girl who died of leukemia which she got as a consequence of the atomic bombardments. While she was going through her illness, she devoted herself to the task of doing a thousand cranes. According to the Japanese legend, if someone finishes the girl´s task that person would be granted a wish. Sasaki told her friends she wanted to reach that number of cranes to bring peace and healing to the victims of the world.
After she passed away, this monument was built in her memory and that of the other girls and boys who were victims of the atomic bombs. Underneath the main structure of the monument, there is a bronze origami crane that works as a bell. When wind-driven, the bronze crane crashes into a Peace Bell. Under this crane, thousands of paper-made origami cranes are left by visitors from all over the world.
Why celebrating this day?
It was proclaimed by the United Nations with the aim of “strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples”. At the same time, during this day member States of the UN are urged to carry out educational and public-awareness activities to help accomplish a world-wide cease of fire.