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Obama folds origami cranes for Hiroshima museum, Japanese kids

The Children's Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan, was created in tribute to Sasaki Sadako, who was 2 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped over the city in 1945. She developed leukemia at age 7 and died at age 12. Her classmates raised funds for the statue that stands in her honor at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

DENISSE RAUDA/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 31, 2016

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — President Barack Obama folded four origami cranes and presented them to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum Friday as he became the first U.S. president to visit the site dedicated to those who died in the world’s first wartime atomic bombing.

Obama “had a deeply emotional expression on his face” as he viewed some of the exhibits — which include origami cranes made by atomic-bomb victim Sasaki Sadako, who attempted to fold 1,000 before her death at age 12 in 1955 — museum director Kenji Shiga told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun. The president also gave paper cranes he folded to local elementary and junior-high school students.

Obama, who in his Hiroshima speech called on the world to pursue a long-term vision of a nuclear-free world, also joined Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in laying a wreath at the memorial as survivors of the attack and their families looked on.

The museum displays “belongings left by the victims, photos and other materials that convey the horror of that event, supplemented by exhibits that describe Hiroshima before and after the bombing … each of the items displayed embodies the grief, anger or pain of real people,” says an introduction to an English-language guide for the museum.

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