|A view of the Pacific from Peace Park|
|Kelly and Valerie with bouquets to decorate memorials|
|A memorial at Peace Park|
Two weeks ago today I went to Peace Park on the southern tip of Okinawa with two good friends. We did a much more thorough exploration of the immense park this time than I was able to accomplish last year when I first visited the site.
Well, I actually visited Peace Park first nearly forty years ago. At that time, it was much smaller, just a couple of acres of memorials on the cliffs jutting out over the Pacific Ocean. We referred to the place as "Suicide Cliffs" back at that time. It is the spot where many Japanese servicemen marched off of the cliffs to certain death on the rocks below rather than risk capture by the American forces.
Today Peace Park is much larger - probably more than a hundred acres. There are memorials everywhere, as well as a very large learning center that has displays, films, and records from the war. This park is dedicated to preserving the history of Okinawa during World War II as well as reminding people that "peace" is the better option. And yes, war and peace are ultimately options.
|Yet another memorial|
Here are just a very few photos from this beautiful park.
|Chains of origami paper cranes decorated some of|
|Bill and Jen McDonald - American school teachers|
serving in Japan - along with Valerie and Kelly.
|A panel in the American memorial wall|
|A view of the top of the learning center as seen from|
an observation post
|A diorama inside the learning center|
|Another memorial. The gardens were beautiful!|