Memorial journey to pay respects to Okinawans killed in Saipan during World War II

Memorial journey to pay respects to Okinawans killed in Saipan during World War II

War memorial service held on the morning of May 30 for Okinawans killed 67 years ago during World War II, at the Okinawan memorial in Saipan. (Photograph courtesy of Asami Ginoza, vice chairperson of the Returnees Association)

May 31, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

On the morning of May 30, members of “the Memorial and Friendship Tour from Okinawa to the Southern Islands” held the 42nd memorial service at the Okinawan memorial near Cape Mappi in Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, for Okinawans killed in those regions during World War II. Organized by the South Sea Islands Returnees Association and the Okinawa Prefecture United Association for Bereaved Families, it was attended by some 130 people, including local participants, who offered prayers for members of their immediate families, and relatives, killed in battle 67 years ago.

Mayor of Saipan Donald G. Flores, accompanied by various other local officials and the Japanese Consul Tsutomu Higuchi also attended the service.

President of the Returnees Association Zenichi Taira said, “We are grateful to those of you whose souls rest here while we live in a peaceful world. It is our duty to pray for eternal peace and then to ensure that is achieved. We will continue to hold these memorial service tours into the future.”
As well as local offerings such as rice balls, the participants placed some brown sugar and sata-andagi cakes brought from Okinawa in front of the memorial. Tears flowed as those in attendance remembered their decreased relatives.

Another service will be held at the Okinawan memorial at Carolinas Plateau in Tinian On March 31.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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