In its inaugural “Peace Day” last Sunday, the American Memorial Park and Pacific Historic Parks remembered those who died when a nuclear bomb was detonated in Hiroshima.
The B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, dropped an atomic bomb on the morning of Aug. 6, 1946, killing 80,000 people instantaneously. Years after, thousands of Japanese residents have died due to exposure from the bomb that caused radiation illness, leukemia, and cancer, according to education specialist assistant Nicole Schafer.
The event on Sunday at the American Memorial Park involved tourists and residents making paper cranes that will be sent to Japan as a sign of peace.
“This is our first time doing it and we’re hoping next year to get the schools involved across the island so we can send more cranes,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Although the event was delayed due to the recent typhoon, Schafer hopes that people from all walks of life will never forget the lives lost on that day, including Sadako’s, a 7-year-old Japanese student who fell victim to what was referred to as the “A-bomb” disease then.
In Japan, it is believed that a person who make 1,000 paper cranes will have their wish granted.
“Her wish was to get better,” Schafer said.
Sadako only managed to make 644 cranes before succumbing to the disease. In 1958 a children’s memorial was unveiled in Japan in her honor, garnering international attention.
Schools and organizations send paper cranes to the monument year-round—a tradition that islanders and tourists alike can now participate in.