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A Tale of Atomic Bombs and Paper Cranes: Harry Truman's Grandson Pursues Reconciliation

President Harry Truman’s 1945 use of atomic weapons likely represents the 20th century’s most profound military decision.

For the past decade, the former president’s eldest grandson has engaged in a continuing public dialogue with those who survived it.

Since 2010 Clifton Truman Daniel has met with those possessing personal memories of the Aug. 6 and 9 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
That dialogue continues upon the bombings’ 75th anniversary in service of peace and reconciliation, Daniel said recently.

“The suffering in any war does not belong to any one side,” Daniel said.

“The best thing you can do is acknowledge it. I want to acknowledge that this happened and that it caused harm, great harm, to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“The war ended and Grandpa always said that he did it to end the war and save the lives of Americans and Japanese.”

In June Daniel discussed the atomic bomb’s impact during an online program sponsored by the World War II Museum in New Orleans. Motivated browsers also can retrieve several other online interviews featuring Daniel on this topic.

Daniel traces his involvement to 1999, when he returned to his Chicago home one night to discover his 10-year-old son Wesley captivated by a book from school. 

“Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” chronicled Sadako Sasaki, a 2-year-old Hiroshima girl who survived the bombing but who, years later, was diagnosed with leukemia attributed to radiation exposure.

She began folding hundreds of origami paper cranes, honoring a Japanese tradition that promised if she produced 1,000 cranes, she would be granted a wish.

Although she folded some 1,300 cranes, Sadako died in 1955 at age 12.

Daniel later described his son’s fascination with the story to a Japanese journalist. The subsequent news article caught the eye of Masahiro Sasaki, Sadako’s older brother, who tracked Daniel down and called him, proposing a meeting.

That was in 2005. 

Read entire article at Flatland (Kansas City)