NAHA, Okinawa — The annual memorial commemorating the end of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 is scheduled for 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, at Peace Prayer Park in Itoman.

Among special guests and dignitaries will be Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman Jr., commander of Marine Corps Bases Japan and Thomas G. Reich, consul general from the U.S. Consulate on Okinawa.

The service honors those who died during the 83-day battle that began April 1, 1945, one of World War II’s fiercest Pacific campaigns. More than 200,000 were killed, including 12,281 Americans, 110,000 Japanese soldiers and Okinawan conscripts and some 150,000 Okinawan civilians — a third of the island’s population.

About 6,400 people attend the ceremony annually to pray for the family members, classmates and friends who died. The memorial is held near the Cornerstones of Peace, 116 black granite monuments engraved with names of the Japanese, Americans, British, Koreans and Chinese who perished.

More than 672 names were added to the monuments this year — many of them leprosy victims killed when the Americans bombed their colony near Motobu in northern Okinawa.

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