Saipan memorial participants renew pledge not to wage war ever again

Saipan memorial participants renew pledge not to wage war ever again

On May 25, participants clasped their hands in prayer at the Tower of Okinawa in Saipan. (Provided by Saneatsu Asato, director of the South Sea Islands Returnees Association)


May 26, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 25, the 46th Nanyo Gunto Okinawa Memorial Ceremony was held at the Tower of Okinawa in Saipan. The ceremony was held to console the souls of the war dead, who died during the battle near the end of the Asia-Pacific War in 1944. About 140 people, including returnees from the island, their families and affiliates, took part. Participants mourned the death of about 12,000 Okinawan people involved in the ground battle in the former South Sea Islands and renewed their pledge not to fight in wars ever again.

An official from the Okinawa Prefectural Government participated in the ceremony for the first time in 10 years. Vice Governor Isho Urasaki read a message on behalf of Governor Takeshi Onaga, “This year marks 70 years after the end of World War II. We commit to creating a peaceful Okinawa and honoring these people who were killed during the war, and we receive their sacrifice with sincerity. We also honor the survivors who lost everything but held on to hope and made so much effort to reconstruct Okinawa.”

Zenichi Taira, the president of the South Sea Islands Returnees Association, said, “Bereaved families are getting older but we are living proof of the war, and we want to preserve the painful memory of war.”

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato)

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