Marines from Okinawa to commemorate two-year anninversary of 3-11 in Oshima
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan – Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, along with the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band, will visit Oshima Island, Kesennuma City, Miyagi Prefecture to help commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster, March 11.
Just days after the disaster two years ago, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and other Marines of III MEF and MCIPAC, based in Okinawa, arrived on Oshima Island, and in the Tohoku region to assist in the recovery efforts, and the strong relationship between the Marines and the people of Oshima has continued ever since.
Talleri is scheduled to meet with Kesennuma Mayor Shigeru Sugawara and other city officials in Kesennuma City, at 1 p.m., prior to attending the official memorial ceremony.
Talleri is then scheduled to attend the Kesennuma City memorial, which begins at 2:30 p.m.
Later, members of the III MEF band are scheduled to perform a concert as part of a separate memorial ceremony on Oshima Island in the Oshima Elementary School at 7 p.m. Oshima school children and community members, as well as gospel singer Haruna Kinoshita who served as a volunteer on the island after the disaster, will accompany the band for a couple of songs.
During the band’s performance, Talleri and leaders of the Oshima community will speak to the assembled audience regarding the Marine Corps’ continued commitment to the relationship that has been established over the past two years with the people of Oshima and Kesennuma City.
In January, MCIPAC hosted dozens of children from Oshima as part of the second annual youth cultural exchange program in Okinawa. The exchange program was created in 2011 immediately following the 3-11 earthquake and tsunami to give children from Oshima a stress-free environment to relax in during the summer, while their home communities recovered from the aftermath. This year’s visit focused on the Japanese and American children sharing their diverse cultures and learning from each other.
A third exchange program is scheduled for August of this year. Information about the 2011 exchange program can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q10m9I4lOYw.
This will be Talleri’s second visit to Oshima Island. A reciprocal visit was conducted in Jan 2012 by Marine leadership, which can be found at: http://www.dvidshub.net/news/82434/31st-meu-marines-return-site-oshima-island-disaster-assistance