A step back into history…

Japanese Navy’s Underground Tunnels

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As you can see in the pictures, the humidity was so high that day, so I was having a hard time keeping my lens from getting all foggy!

I thought it would  be interesting to try to take my Dad to see some of the WWW II site here on Okinawa.  My Grandpa Hatt was in the 1st group of US soldiers that landed on Okinawa April 1st 1945.

He was only 19 years old at the time.  However, because he had graduated from high school at 17, he was already a veteran of almost 2 years.   He had already participated in several battles, but the fighting at Okinawa was particularly hard.

Okinawa was strategically important to both the US and Japan because a B1 bomber could take off from a landing strip on Okinawa, drop it’s bombs on mainland Japan, and still have enough fuel to return to base. The US was planning to invade Japan and knew they would need air support to be successful.  Therefore, the US needed to “take the island at any cost”.  Japan’s mentality was to “fight to the death not surrender.”

The US estimated that Japan had 65,000 soldiers on Okinawa.  However, in reality the Japanese had closer to 130,000 soldiers dug into caves and fortifications.   They were ready and anticipating  the US invasion.  The initial 60,000 soldiers that came ashore with my Grandpa Hatt were outnumbered 2 to 1.  After a week of fighting, only 30 of the approximately 180 men in my Grandpa’s company had not been killed or wounded. I believe this was were he earned his purple heart. The Battle of Okinawa ended up being by far the bloodiest in the Pacific.  Including Japanese, US, and civilians, an estimated 250,000 people were killed.

I think it would be very interesting to talk with my Grandfather about Okinawa and hear his stories. However, I was too young when he passed away to remember too many of his war stories.

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Japanese Navy Underground Headquarters3

Japanese NAvy UNderground Headquarters1
After we exited the tunnels, it was time for a snack break. We love our Toy Story cheese nips!

One of my friends told me about a soba restaurant that was owned by a family that they’ve become friends with. We decided to stop and check it out since we were starving, and in the area. I think Grandpapa liked his soba a little better than Grandma. What do you think?? Just teasing!   It was delicious, but Grandma wasn’t a tofu fan. I personally thought it was the best tofu I have ever eaten.

Soba Shop Grandma

Soba Shop Gramps

 

Peace Prayer Park

There was so much more that we wanted to do, but we were racing against the clock. We had limited time before we needed to get Kennedy from school.  On the way home, we stopped at Peace Prayer Park, which is so BIG.  We barely had time to scratch the surface before we had to leave.

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The park was built on the site where the Battle of Okinawa ended, Manbuni Hill. The park was built to remember and mourn the loss of over 250,000 people.

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The tablets in the park are inscribed with the names of Japanese, Americans, and  the other people from other countries that lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa.

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“Hey Nate, come here.  Let’s take a picture!”

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“You WILL be in this picture!”

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“Now, that’s more like it!”   We got the picture!

This picture is taken at the suicide cliffs where thousands of Japanese soldiers, women, and children committed suicide. It is so sad to think that they felt like the situation was that hopeless!

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Peace Prayer Park

3 comments… add one
  • Wendi

    I love reading about your adventures and seeing all the pictures. Looks like such a fun vacation with your parents.

  • Grandmama

    Lots of fun memories relived!!! Well maybe not the tofu – love the soba noodles though!! 🙂 How we miss all of our Okinawa kids!! XXOO

  • Suzy

    That is so sad, all those people. Neat to visit a place that holds some of your family history with your parents, and have them willing to try new things!

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