On my week-long potter’s pilgrimage, I made one stop for another reason. Since my chosen route took me through the city of Hiroshima, I arranged my train schedule to allow for a few hours’ pause to convey my wishes for peace and harmony at Peace Park. A skeleton of a building left standing, the A-Bomb Dome monument, once surrounded by devastation, now rises from a regenerated park, a green expanse dotted with memorial sculptures and monuments honoring the bomb’s victims.
It tugged at my heart to see flowers blooming in this hallowed place.
A group of school children gave speeches and bowed at the Children’s Memorial, a tall arch topped with a sculpture of a girl, arms wide open, a paper crane soaring over her head. The statue was inspired by the remembrance of a young girl, Sasaki Sadako, who died at age twelve from leukemia as a result of radiation exposure to the explosion when she was two. She tried to make one thousand paper cranes, hoping to aid her recovery. The monument now stands in memory of all the children who died. The class visiting the monument added their origami crane constructions to thousands that were already there, hanging in streams of all colors, a moving sight. It was difficult to see through my camera’s viewfinder as the tears kept flowing.
One could never have guessed that, in just months after my visit, Japan would again be dealing with a nuclear disaster (Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami).
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