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Memorial Day ceremonies Monday pay homage to Battle of Okinawa victims

Date Posted: 2008-06-20

Peace Memorial Park in Mabuni will be the setting Monday for Okinawa Prefecture’s annual Memorial Day ceremonies.

Two ceremonies will be held, one remembering the 14,007 Americans who died in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, and one conducted by the Okinawa Prefecture government as a tribute to all battle victims. The U.S. ceremony takes place at the Memorial Peace Park Cornerstone of Peace at 10:30 a.m., sponsored by the USO Okinawa and the USO Council. Traditionally, the senior military officer on Okinawa presides over the ceremony, a post currently held by III Marine Expeditionary Force commander Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer.

The 11 a.m. main ceremony takes place a few hundred yards away, at the Peace Park Pavilion. The ceremony will be led by Hirokazu Nakaima, Okinawa’s governor, and other prefecture leaders.

Buses will transport Americans to the ceremonies and back. Buses depart the American Legion parking lot at 8 a.m., with intermediate stops at Camp Kinser Building 107 at 8:20 a.m., and the United Seamen’s Service Seamen’s Club at 8:40 a.m. Following the ceremonies, buses will stop for a luncheon at the Seamen’s Club in Naha, then return to Camp Kinser and the American Legion parking lots.

Okinawa Prefecture has asked that no uniforms be worn; casual business dress is acceptable. Veterans and retired organizational headgear may be worn at the American ceremony, but the Prefecture has asked they not be worn at the Okinawan ceremony.

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