Thursday, June 13, 2013

Remembering the Battle of Okinawa at Peace Prayer Park

We have more friends visiting this week and we are having a great time showing them around. It's been a beautiful week so far. 

Yesterday we went to the Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters, and today we visited Peace Prayer Park and realized that it was at this exact time of June in 1945 when the Battle of Okinawa was finally coming to a devastating end after brutal months of fighting. Today is the day when the Japanese commanding officer left his final words and took his own life in surrender. It makes me so sad to think of what the Okinawan people had to go through in those terrible months. 
 I was so touched walking around Peace Prayer Park today. There are many granite walls similar to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. that pay tribute name by name to those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa. There are so many of them. Those walls keep going and going. As you walk among thousands and thousands of Japanese, you arrive to the corner of the memorials and see something unlike all the other names: English names. Names of Americans, British, and Irish. Those Allied forces who also died in the Battle of Okinawa. The very people the Japanese were fighting against.

It's such a beautiful testament of forgiving and moving forward.

 I love what the Peace Prayer Park symbolizes. Everything there focuses on trying repent and forgive. "To console the precious souls of all  who were lost in the war and to pass the lessons learned from the tragic war on future generations."

I was touched today, and these events that happened on this island years ago have been on my mind. So I just thought I would share. I sound like a broken record, but I'm so grateful to have this time on Okinawa to learn these lessons as well.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Google found this post for me. I write novels for middle-school kids, and right now I'm about 2/3 of the way through a story that's set during the Battle of Okinawa. I had to leave off at that point to work on something else, but I do hope to get back to it someday.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your great photos. Would you mind if I followed your blog? I never know when a new bit of information about a place is going to stick in my head.