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Music, Poetry, Origami and Reflections at Sadako Peace Day

Dr. Jimmy Hara will speak Tuesday on 'Remembering Sadako Sasaki: In the Wake of Fukushima Dai-Ichi'

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation will hold the 17th annual Sadako Peace Day ceremony from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Sadako Peace Garden at La Casa de Maria, 800 El Bosque Road. It is free and open to the public.

Keynote speaker Dr. Jimmy Hara of Physicians for Social Responsibility in Los Angeles will share his ideas on nuclear disarmament in a talk titled “Remembering Sadako Sasaki: In the Wake of Fukushima Dai-Ichi.”

Hara is a past Pacific regional director and the current vice president of the Los Angeles Chapter of PSR, the U.S. affiliate of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize recipient International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War. He is the clinical professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the founding director and board chair of the Los Angeles Albert Schweitzer Fellowship.

The Sadako Peace Day ceremony will also feature poetry from several local poets, including Amy Michelson and Emeritus Poet Laureates of Santa Barbara Perie Longo and David Starkey. Bob Sedivy, a Komuso monk, will provide beautiful, evocative music on the shakuhachi, an ancient Japanese style bamboo flute, followed by musical performances by Carol Ann Manzi and Thomas Heck.

In honor of Sadako Sasaki, the Japanese girl who inspired the world with her folded cranes, a short tutorial on how to fold paper cranes will be provided.

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 age 2.

She started folding origami paper cranes after a friend reminded her of a legend: If a person folds 1,000 cranes, he or she will live to be very old. As Sadako folded the cranes, she would say the 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. She set out to fold 1,000 cranes. There are differing accounts of how successful she was. One book says 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.

For more information about Sadako Peace Day, contact Debra Roets at 805.965.3443 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Debra Roets is the director of development and communications for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.


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