Yomitan villagers pray for eternal peace 71 years after US forces landed
April 2, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
On April 1, 1945, 71 years ago, U.S. forces landed on the beach of Yomitan Village. On a radio program in the afternoon, Mayor Denjitsu Ishimine called for residents to remember the lessons of war: “We should not forget the day, April 1, and we would like to pray for eternal peace.”
Many residents offered silent prayers for the war dead as sirens sounded in the background.
Twenty-six members of an Okinawan traditional music group visited a monument at Toguchi, Yomitan, where U.S. forces landed.
Shisei Isa, 73, who guided them there, explained, “Today 71 years ago, in Chibichiri-gama cave, many family members took their own lives together. The lives of 83 residents were lost. We need to pass on the lessons of our tragic history to our children and grandchildren.”
Masanobu Uechi, 77, survived because he had hidden in Simuku-gama cave. He said, “I guess, we were saved by U.S. forces in the first stage of the battle. The two groups in Shimuku-gama and Chibichiri-gama had taken different paths, on the bright and dark sides of life. We received the “C” ration from the U.S. military, when we suffered from hunger.”
The members of the music group made the same vow they repeat every year – not to repeat the mistakes of the war ever again.
(Translation by T&CT)
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