MCAS Futenma invites Okinawa residents for Ubu-Gah Spring clean up
CAMP HANSEN, OKINAWA, Japan --
The Ginowan Community Club conducted the annual Ubu-gah Spring clean-up August 10 on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
The event is part of a large effort by Marine Corps Installations Pacific to facilitate access to the culturally significant shrines and sacred sites aboard the base, in order to support the continuing traditions of the Okinawa residents.
According to Seiichi Miyagi, a local community leader and former resident of the village, the spring was used as sacred water source for the previous surrounding village before World War II. The spring was a place where people came to pray to their ancestors, retrieve drinking water and bathe in the natural springs.
Former residents of the village, including Miyagi, and their descendants, visit the site to maintain environmental upkeep. The annual maintenance includes clearing out weeds and trimming the grass. Once the site is manicured, the Okinawa residents come together for three brief prayers.
“This is a holy place, so we come here to pray to our ancestors,” said Miyagi. “We pray at different (areas) for different things like health and peace.”
The spring is just one of 100 cultural sites located on MCAS Futenma, with more than 500 sites located throughout Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Japan, according to Col. Peter Lee, commanding officer for MCAS Futenma.
The event is more than just a way to spruce up the site, it helps build on a constructive relationship between the Marine Corps, local community groups and the Okinawa government as a whole.
“We do all we can to make the most out of these opportunities to work with the city and local civic groups,” said Lee. “This is just another illustration of our continued partnership with the Okinawa community, the government of Okinawa and the government of Japan.”
By building partnerships and promoting friendship amongst the Marine Corps and the nations within the Asia Pacific region, Marine Corps Installations Pacific continues to redefine and improve critical relationships throughout the area and promote unity amongst the United States and its host nations.