Debbie Wanninkhof

Debbie Wanninkhof leads attendees in a reading during the Peace Day event.

 

Peace Day at Community Center an emotional event.

The United Nations Day of Peace was celebrated on Key Biscayne Saturday evening in an inclusive program with original poems by Bella Tomkins , Caitlin White and her sister Avery.

The ceremony was led by Frank Caplan, who gave the keynote address, and Debbie Wanninkohf, who led several songs and readings, at times accompanied by Anasofia Godley and Isabella Legrand.

Ann Roth, director at the Presbyterian School, offered one of the event’s more memorable stories -- recounting a Japanese legend about Sadako Sasaki.

Sadako was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. At 12, she contracted leukemia. Her friend Chizuko brought her a folded paper crane (origami) and told her that cranes live for 1,000 years and a sick person who folds a thousand cranes will become well again.

Sadako folded cranes throughout her illness. When she died she had folded 634 of them. Her classmates folded the remaining 356 cranes so that all 1,000 could be buried with her. In 1958, a statue was erected in Hiroshima Peace Park. It was dedicated to Sadako and all the children who were killed on that day.

Each year on Peace Day, thousands of paper cranes are placed beneath Sadako’s statue and her prayer recited: “This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world.”

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