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American Families Help Beautify International Cemetery

Date Posted: 1999-10-19

Last week, more American residents of Okinawa participated in the scheduled monthly cleanup of the Tomari International Cemetery. Located close to Naha City, this cemetery has a very interesting history that makes volunteer work on it more than just a thrill.

In 1853, the famous Admiral Perry and his fleet of Black Ships stopped at Okinawa where they designated Tomari as the burial site for deceased sailors and marines. Several members of the Perry expedition are presently resting in that cemetery. In 1914, William Hare, a seaman from a British ship, was buried there.

Kelly Anderson, a member of VFW Post 9723, is one of the most regular Tomari cemetery volunteers. She says the cemetery was known as a “sore eye” for may years. But this situation has changed recently thanks to the devotion of over 350 volunteers under that chairmanship of Kelly Anderson. Together, they have kept Tomari grass cut, bushes trimmed, weed tamed, and trash policed.

Anderson estimates that there are some 400 Americans, Chinese, French, English and sailors of other nationalities buried at Tomari. In the past, not much was done to make the place presentable. “In fact, it was a dumping site until last march before we decided to ameliorate it,” Kelly Anderson told us.

The Tomari cleanup group, according to its leader Kelly Anderson, needs more hands for the job. “It only takes a couple of hours each month. We need, and are asking for your help!”

For more information, call Kelly Anderson: 899-1851, or email kelly@momo200.com

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