Remembering the tragedy of U.S. military jet crashing onto elementary school

Remembering the tragedy of U.S. military jet crashing onto elementary school

The students offered a floral tribute and dedicated one thousand paper cranes to Nakayoshi-Jizo in the ceremony at Miyamori Elementary School of Uruma City before noon on June 30.

July 1, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Fifty-two years have passed since June 30, 1959, when a U.S. F-100 fighter from Kadena Air Base crashed into Miyamori Elementary School.
The Association of Children held the 52nd-anniversary memorial ceremony on June 30 at Miyamori Elementary School (principal, Shigemi Iha and 446 pupils) in Uruma City.
The Ishikawa-Miyamori 6-30 Association (president, Mitsuteru Toyohama), which was formed by relatives of the victims of the accident and people concerned with the aim of passing on memories of the crash, also held their first memorial service.
With the rumble of U.S. military planes echoing in the background, the participants prayed for the repose of the souls of the 18 victims, and for lasting peace.

At the memorial ceremony held at Miyamori Elementary School from 8:20am, pupils pressed their hands together as they observed silent prayers while relatives of the victims and local residents looked on.

After offering floral tributes and dedicating one thousand paper cranes to Nakayoshi-Jizo or Good Friend-Jizo (protector of deceased children), which is dedicated to the 18 victims including 11 pupils, the pupils conducted a choral reading for peace and sang Fukugi no ki, a song for peace.

Eleven year-old Kazuma Nakahodo, a sixth-year pupil at Miyamori Elementary School, said, “Even though I have been taking part in the ceremony since I was a first year pupil, I still cannot believe that a U.S. military jet crashed into such a fantastic school. I really think that it is important for us to continue this for the victims’ sake.”

Principal Iha talked to the students, saying, “My heart aches when I think about the pupils who died in the accident. We need to create our own peaceful world and deliver a message for peace from here.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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