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65th Anniversary ceremonies to remember Battle of Okinawa

Date Posted: 2010-06-17

Japan’s Prime Minister and Okinawa’s Governor will lead more than 5,000 people expected to pay homage Wednesday to those who died in the Battle of Okinawa.

The Battle of Okinawa, said to be the turning point that ended World War II, ended June 23rd, 1945, and 65th anniversary memorial ceremonies are scheduled to mark the date. The three-month allied offensive claimed the lives of 240,383 allied and Japanese soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, as well as Okinawa citizens.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan will make his first visit to Peace Memorial Park for the ceremonies. He is expected to call on Okinawans to work with his government to smooth the transition as U.S. military transformation in coming years includes moving Futenma Marine Corps Air Station from Ginowan City to northern Okinawa.

Hirokazu Nakaima, Okinawa’s governor, and countless public officials, survivors and children will also participate in the ceremonies. Several dozen Americans will gather two hours prior to the main ceremony to remember Americans and allied soldiers who gave their lives. Traditionally, the commanding general for the III Marine Expeditionary Force leads the ceremony, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce Okinawa, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the United Services Organization. The U.S. Consul General from the American Consulate Naha also traditionally participates in the ceremony in front of the granite walls engraved with the names of those Americans who died in the bloody 82-day battle.

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