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Hiroshima baby visits Skaneateles

When an atomic bomb destroyed much of the Japanese city of Hiroshima in August, 1945, Koko Tanimoto was a baby in her mother's arms. The only baby known to survive the devastating effects of the bomb, she became known as the "Hiroshima baby."

Last week, that baby -- now 62 years old -- sat and chatted with third graders at State Street School in Skaneateles. She held up the small dress she was wearing the day that buildings were destroyed and people were literally melted.

Nearby her house was a school about the same size as State Street School, she said of that morning in 1945. "All 438 of the children were dead."

Tanimoto tells her story to people around the world. Her purpose is not to place blame but to promote peace, Sharon O'Connell, the librarian at Skaneateles Middle School, told the third graders. "Koko has spent her life trying to help the world find peace," O'Connell said.

O'Connell has helped bring Tanimoto to the United States, where she will speak to groups in Central New York and in Cleveland.

Tanimoto told the third graders that they should work to destroy any negative or mean feelings toward others that they carry inside of themselves.

"I strongly feel that peace is something inside of each of us," Tanimoto said. "We should learn to live peacefully."

She told the students she finds hope in them.

"I depend on you. You can make a peaceful place, so we can live together in this beautiful world," she said.

Haruka Fujiwara, a high school exchange student from Japan, spoke briefly with the students. She said that peace is what she wants as well. "That's why I came to this country. We can get together and be friends and we can make peace."

In a previous visit to Skaneateles, Tanimoto has told more of her story:

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