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    Battle of Okinawa Memorial Day: Commemorating Lives Lost



    Story by Lance Cpl. Harrison Rakhshani 

    III Marine Expeditionary Force   

    During World War II, the Ryukyu Islands were the front line for a series of battles which culminated in the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific theater. The Battle of Okinawa lasted 82 days, from April 1 to June 22, 1945.

    The Battle of Okinawa, also known as Operation Iceberg, was the last major battle of World War II. The fight resulted in more than 240,000 deaths of Japanese and U.S. service members, as well as Okinawan civilians.

    Seventy three years later, service members, veterans and government officials from Okinawa, mainland Japan and the United States gathered at Okinawa Peace Memorial Park, June 23, 2018 in Itoman, Okinawa, Japan for the 2018 Okinawa Memorial Day service.

    “Almost 250,000 lives, a quarter of a million people; it’s especially hard for us today to imagine the loss represented in these walls behind us,” said Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the III Marine Expeditionary Force Commanding General, as he gestured to the Cornerstone of Peace memorial wall. “These walls with names of Americans, Japanese and civilians who perished in this fight.”

    The attendees joined together around the Cornerstone of Peace and placed wreaths against the walls in remembrance of those who gave their life to serve their country.

    “The purpose of this is to commemorate, to remember, all the souls, the lives lost here at the Battle of Okinawa,” said Sgt. Maj. Mario A. Marquez, the III MEF Sergeant Major. “Significantly, the Cornerstone of Peace memorial wall commemorates not only Okinawans, but all lives lost during the Battle of Okinawa regardless of nationality.”

    In September 1945, a formal document was signed signifying the ending of the battle. Since then, the U.S. and Japanese forces allied together forging a diplomatic relationship that remains a cornerstone of security in the Indo-Pacific region.

    “The alliance that we have today between the United States and the government of Japan is one of the strongest in the history of alliances,” said Nicholson. “Over the last 73 years, the alliance has allowed and will continue to pave the way for unprecedented prosperity in the region.”



    Date Taken: 06.23.2018
    Date Posted: 06.24.2018 20:49
    Story ID: 282079
    Location: ITOMAN, OKINAWA, JP

    Web Views: 164
    Downloads: 0