72 years after the US military landed on Zamami Island, villagers honour victims of “Group self-determination” and vow never to repeat war
March 27, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On March 26, 2017, 72 years after the “group self-determination” (compulsory group suicides) took place on Zamami Island during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, villagers visited the Heiwa-no-To peace memorial and joined their hands in prayer.
The villagers pledged permanent peace and vowed never to repeat the misery of war again.
U.S. troops landed in Zamami Village on March 26, 72 years ago, and then Okinawa’s ground battle began.
Akikazu Nakamura, 61, who lost his father’s siblings in “group self-determination” said, “On March 26 and on June 23 (the Okinawa Memorial Day), I visit here every year and join my hands in prayer. I want to ensure permanent peace and pass it to our children’s generation.”
Kosei Miyazato, 80, who survived by hiding in a mountain during the wartime, while his family members died because of food shortages.
“Peace in the present day is built on the sacrifice of precious lives. I want the world to be a peaceful place forever,” he said.
Mayor Satoru Miyazato said, “Zamami Village has become a place where many tourists come to visit. But, there are many regular visitors who do not know about the Battle of Okinawa. Conveying the peace message is the mission of the village. I want to make it easier for many people to visit by maintaining the memorial tower and publishing a brochure. ”
On the day, people offered prayers freely because an official memorial service was not held.
The memorial service sponsored by the village is held once every five years and will be held again in 2020.
(English translation by T&CT)
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