Thirteen year-old girl to read her poem entitled “One scene from the happy days” at the Memorial Service of Battle of Okinawa

Thirteen year-old girl to read her poem entitled “One scene from the happy days” at the Memorial Service of Battle of Okinawa

       Tomoka_Kamida


June 17, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the Fallen on the Anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa will be held at Mabuni, Itoman City, on June 23. At the ceremony, Tomoka Kamida, 13 year-old student of the second grade of Nakanishi Junior High School in Urasoe City will read her poem entitled “One scene from the happy days.”

She said, “I want the strength of our will to get through, both to the bereaved and to the survivors of the war, letting them know that we will strive to protect peace,” on June 16, ahead of the ceremony.

Her grandmother who was born during the Taisho era (1912-1926) showed her a photograph, and that moved her to write the poem. In the picture, her grandmother, a schoolteacher back in those days, was surrounded by 20 or 30 smiling school children. Her grandmother told her sadly that, “Had it not been for the war, so many more people would have been happy.”

Tomoka sensed that the suffering from the horrors of war was hidden behind the children’s smiles, “War is useless. My grandma told me about how much pain it causes,” she said.

Despite 66 years having passed since the war, many U.S. bases still remain in Okinawa. When Tomoka walked alongside a fence of a base recently she thought, “The war has long since ended. Why should we still have such huge U.S. military bases here?” Hearing news reports that Osprey aircraft will be deployed to the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and constantly bothered by the noise of military aircraft, she is reminded that, “Wars are still happening somewhere in the world.”

In Okinawa, we have many opportunities to consider matters of peace and war, but “We should not stop at just thinking about it; we should step forward now to act,” she said, insisting that it is important to learn from the scars of war. A photograph of someone smiling at having overcome painful experiences, “Will be a ‘truly happy photograph’ when there are no more wars,” she said gazing into the distance.

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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