June 23

This date in Okinawa, Irei no Hi, or Okinawa Memorial Day marks the remembrance of those who have been lost in the Battle of Okinawa. At noon on June 23, this island will pause in remembrance. Although a public holiday, it is not celebrated throughout Japan, only in Okinawa. We have taken a couple of trips to the Peace Memorial Park, which is in Naha, the largest city on Okinawa. The park is sobering because a portion of it is lined with memorial stones, with names of all those who fought in the battle of Okinawa, over 240,000 individuals. Some American and European military are also listed among the dead. The last picture of the blue fountain is a recognizable symbol of peace here in Okinawa.