Young generation make a promise for no-war at Zuisen monument
June 24, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo
A memorial service for the war dead was held at Zuisen Monument in Komesu, Itoman on June 23. The names of students from the former prefectural Shuri Girls’ High School are inscribed on the monument. A junior high-school student read a “Message for Peace,” which was the first time such a message had been read at this event. A senior-year Shuri Junior High School student, Yuto Kuba, said he had taken over the will of his grandfather who lost seven out of eleven family members during the Battle of Okinawa. He pledged, “I would like to think about how never ever to repeat disastrous war on this land.”
Students from Shuri Girls’ High School were assigned at field hospitals as nurses during the deadly battle.
Kuba’s 80-year old grandfather, Satoshige, lost his seven family members including his older sister who was also a student of the school. It is unknown where and when the family members died, so he decided on June 23 as everyone’s death anniversary.
Kuba has been attending the memorial service since he was in kindergarten, but he says he did not really understand its meaning at the beginning. He shared how he “started to think how horrible war is” as he listened to his grand parents’ experiences. He further stressed, “from now on, we younger generations will take over the stories and lessons from you and pass them on to the next generations.”
After the service, he remarked, “I don’t want allow any causes for war anymore. I shared my message hoping for a continuous peace. I hope we young generations attend these kinds of events actively from now on.”
His grandfather, Satoshige, who lost a total of eight family members including his aunt said he expects his stories to be passed on, “I think my grandson felt something when I took him to the memorial service every year. I hope our grandchildren will think about war and peace.”
Sadako Niimoto, the chairman of Zuisen Alumni Group, which consists of graduates of Shuri Girls’ High School and former Prefectural Girls’ School of Arts, shared the purpose of having a junior high-school student’s message; “I hope this provides good opportunities to young generations, who will build the future, to think of what war is, and to have their own sense of responsibility in peace-building.”
(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)
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