Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Day to Remember the Sacrifices

My parents arrived hours before a big typhoon had us locked down in our housing for more than a day.  It was avery long and boring way to start off their trip to Japan.  Unless winds moving cars around is exciting?  After we were cleared to leave our house we headed out to see the damage done and we ended up at the seawall to check out the ocean and get the wiggles out.  It was still very windy and the waves were crashing more than usual.  Jason calls this our lion picture.

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The next day we headed out to visit some of the historical sites.  First we visited the Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters.  

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Entrance to the Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters (photo from Okinawa Hai)

Dug into a hillside outside of Naha city is one of the islands most somber reminders of the bloody Battle of Okinawa. In 1944, the Japanese Navy Corps of Engineers dug a 450 meter tunnel complex to serve as an underground headquarters.  Towards the end of the battle, as things began to get hopeless, the commanding officer and 175 of his staff committed suicide in the tunnels. In 1970, most of the tunnels were restored and opened up for the public.  (OKINAWAHAI)

The semi-circular tunnels hardened by post and concrete were 450 meter in length at that time. They served as underground headquarters to endure the American bombardment and long drawn out fighting and could sustain 4000 soldiers. After the war, tunnel remained untouched for many years. The remains of those who died were collected and a 300meter portion centered on the commander's office was renovated and opened to the public.(OKINAWA STORY)

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Photo from Okinawa Hai

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Here we are descending into the tunnels.

It was cool to see some of the history of the war and very sad.  This poor island went through a lot during the battle, it was pretty much decimated.  The pictures and artifacts on display helped educate me on the battle and tore my heart.  It is wonderful to see how the island and the people can recover from something like that.  The Okinawans are very warm and kind to those of us visiting from the US.  There are definitely those here that wish for the US to withdraw, but we have had a wonderful experience here.  One of the best of my life.  The human race is amazing when it chooses to be.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I love that last statement. 'The human race is amazing when it chooses to be.'

When do you return to the US?