One of the most hopeful events of the year, the Tokyo Olympics, is about to close as the world marks the anniversaries of two of the darkest days of human history: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6 and 9, 1945).
This weekend, the Sisters of St. Francis and the Franciscan Peace Center have partnered with the global Cranes for Our Future campaign in a spirit of international cooperation to honor those who perished in the bombings in Japan 76 years ago. The campaign encourages a growing coalition of people and institutions around the world to come together to create some much-needed hope by folding and sharing photos of paper peace cranes on social media on Peace Weekend, between the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.
Laura Anderson of the Franciscan Peace Center says, “Combined with the actions of others, this symbolic gesture brings light to the fact that the majority of people across the globe really do want a world that is free from the threat of nuclear weapons.”
The origami crane is a symbol of peace thanks to a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who was just two years old when she survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, only to succumb to the long-term effects of radiation poisoning a decade later. Guided by a tradition dating back centuries in Japan, Sadako attempted to fold 1,000 paper cranes in the hope that her wish to live would be granted. After her death, children around the world heard her story, made paper cranes, and can now visit the Children’s Peace Monument to her memory at Hiroshima Peace Park.
The Nuclear Threat Initiative partnered with Nagasaki Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, and the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe) on the Cranes for Our Future campaign to spread a message of hope for a future without nuclear weapons. Now, as we lose the generation that remembers when the bombs fell on Japan, we face new, modern threats related to terrorism, cyberattacks, artificial intelligence, and a deteriorating arms-control architecture. Experts warn the risk of nuclear disaster is the highest it’s been in years.
In 2005, the Sisters of St. Francis took a corporate public stand in opposition to the continued maintenance, research, development, and threatened use of the United States arsenal of nuclear weapons. They call on our government to fulfill its commitments to nuclear disarmament as agreed to in the Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1970 and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996.
The Franciscan Peace Center was established by the Sisters of St. Francis as a means for integrating Franciscan spirituality with the mission of promoting active nonviolence and peacemaking, as well as advocating for social justice issues and care for the Earth. The efforts of the Center are focused on the corporate public stands of the Clinton Franciscans including immigration reform, human trafficking, abolition of the death penalty, human rights and income inequality, and care for Creation.