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Okinawans surprised GI’s can to do ‘good things’

Date Posted: 2004-09-24

Negative headlines get all the attention in the media.

American GI’s who commit crimes and cause problems in Okinawa are the subject of numerous news articles seemingly almost daily.

Surprisingly, then, the good news article about American military personnel that made the Okinawa Times newspaper. The daily newspaper published a story describing how 35 U.S. Marine Corps personnel were cleaning Ginowan City’s Tropical Beach that day. It was a small article with a photograph, but it spoke volumes. Loudly.

“What? Can the Marine Corps do good things? Even one?” That was the question posed by one reader, who noted the local newspapers usually are publishing stories protesting the presence of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The article told how Marines volunteered their time, going to the beach early in the morning to clean not only the beaches, but the benches along the shoreline as well. It told how they picked up trash in the open spaces, bagging plenty of empty cans, cigarette stubs, plastic bags, papers, and more. It was a surprise to readers, who say they weren’t aware of the military personnel volunteer efforts.

“This article is very nice,” said one reader. “We never knew they do this kind of warm, wonderful things too. We thought Americans were here only for war.” A small story, but one that’s put Americans in a new light with many local citizens, who are now seeing military personnel with a new respect.

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