ITOMAN, Okinawa -- A scaled-down memorial service for those who died in the Battle of Okinawa -- one of the Pacific War's bloodiest conflicts -- was held on the night of June 22 at Okinawa Peace Memorial Park in this southern Japan city, before the official commemoration ceremony the following day.
With a COVID-19 state of emergency declaration currently in effect across Okinawa Prefecture, participants in the annual event at Okinawa Peace Hall were limited only to those connected with its administration. Those who gathered prayed for the people who died 76 years ago, and for peace.
At the ceremony held the night before the official memorial, the peace bell tolls seven times to send prayers of peace across the seven seas. About 10 people including those affiliated with main organizer, the Okinawa Foundation, prayed in silence.
At the park, the Cornerstone of Peace commemorates the lives of people from five countries and regions, including Japan and the U.S., who died in the conflict. To mourn them, five searchlights shone into the night sky as a "pillar of light for peace."
(Japanese original by Keiko Yamaguchi, Kyushu News Department)