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Military pays tribute to all Battle of Okinawa victims

Date Posted: 2005-06-24

A Sunday ceremony at Camp Foster honored the 240,000 men and women who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa.

Attendees came from all walks of life…Marine Corps officers, veterans of the bloody 82-day battle in Spring 1945, and relatives of those who died. An estimated one-quarter of Okinawa’s population died during the American campaign to end World War II, and more than 12,000 Americans were killed.

The Battle of Okinawa ended 60 years ago today. American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines were joined by the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force in joint formation for the solemn ceremony. The Senior Marine on Okinawa, Lieutenant General Robert Blackman III, spoke of the healing that has taken place in the six decades since the fighting ended.

The III Marine Expeditionary Force commander called for everyone to remember the sacrifices made during the battle, saying “their sacrifice is a testament to their devotion and love of country.”

Blackman, who will soon depart for a new post as senior U.S. Marine in Europe, said both sides fought with determination, skill, courage and valor. He noted the bonds that have formed between the U.S. and Japan since World War II.

First Marine Division dedicated a plaque in memory of the Battle, and placed a wreath in their honor.

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