Atomic Pulse

The Cranes For Our Future Campaign: Delivering a Message of Hope

Angela Kellett
Maggie O'Brien

This blog post was written by NTI summer interns Angela Kellett and Maggie O’Brien. Kellett received her Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and Master of Arts degree in International Relations, both from St. John’s University. O’Brien received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Northeastern University and is working towards her Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. Kellett is working for the Communication team at NTI, and O’Brien is working in support of the Communications team at NTI for the William J Perry Project.

August 6th, 1945

On August 6, 1945, when a 9,700-pound uranium bomb called “Little Boy” was dropped on his hometown of Hiroshima, Fumiaki Kajiya was six years old. “I remember seeing many, many people running away,” he recalls. “I was one of them. Along the side of the streets, there were many dead bodies. I was desperately trying to escape the fires of hell.”

Sadako Sasaki was just two years old at the time of the Hiroshima bombing. Like Fumiaki, she survived the initial blast, but she was among the many later diagnosed with Leukemia caused by radiation exposure.

Sadako lost her battle against cancer at the age of 12, but her legacy lives on. Following a centuries-old tradition in Japan, Sadako tried to fold 1,000 paper cranes in the hope that her wish to live would be granted. Her story has inspired others to make paper cranes and make a wish for a safer world.

#CranesForOurFuture Campaign

The Nuclear Threat Initiative is partnering with Nagasaki Prefecture, Hiroshima Prefecture, and the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe) on a #CranesForOurFuture campaign to spread a message of hope for a future without nuclear weapons. While the world hasn’t suffered a nuclear bombing in 76 years, the risk of nuclear disaster today is higher than it has been in years thanks to evolving and escalating risks posed by terrorists, cyber hackers, artificial intelligence, and a deteriorating arms-control architecture.

The campaign encourages a growing coalition of people and institutions across the globe 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 August 6 and August 9 anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings.

Along with posting paper cranes on social media with the hashtag #CranesForOurFuture, supporters are asked to share a wish. It could be something for themselves or their community, or it could be a wish for a safer world.

Hope for a Better Tomorrow

As the world follows the Olympic Games now underway in Japan, folding cranes serves as a powerful reminder that despite the devastation unleashed 76 years ago, there is always reason for hope. In May of this year, the eyes of the world turned to Fumiaki Kajiya as he held high a torch as a symbol of hope to herald the summer games. Now, as the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki approach, it is important to honor the legacies of all who died and suffered by working to build a safer world where nuclear weapons are never used again.

As put best by another Hiroshima survivor, Toshiko Tanaka: “May these paper cranes take flight to the world with our wishes on their peaceful wings.”

Join us! For more information about the #CranesForOurFuture campaign, visit the website. If you are interested in becoming a partner, the partnership form is at the bottom of the website.

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