April 12, 1926, Miyagi Michiko was born in Okinawa, Japan. It was very peaceful there and there was no noise, such as jet fighter’s roar. She was an adventurous little girl who enjoyed swimming in the clear creek behind her house. They were told to memorize the Imperial Rescript on Education when they were in the fourth grade of elementary school. As a fourth grader, she didn’t know the difference between being a Japanese or an Okinawan. They said that she would be considered Japanese after memorizing it. So she tried hard to memorize it.

Shuri Women’s High School was a specialized school to study sewing, weaving and dying. She only found it out after entering. Her parents suggested going to that school, since she was more like a boy and couldn’t even sew. They were taught that Japan was the country of gods so it would never lose the war in class. And there was the story of “Kamikaze”, a divine wind that would blow when Japan entered war, which reassured their safety. They believed those stories, so they never worried about the war.

They were taught it was an honor to work for the country and die for the Emperor. They learned that dying for the country was the most glorious thing to do. So dying in war didn’t feel like a big deal to her. She didn’t have any fear at all. They were clueless as to what it meant to be assigned to a corps since they were just students. They were only told that they would be working as a nurse by their schoolteachers. They said, “Listen to the soldiers and work” and left them. Their teachers left everything to the soldiers and the military. The Japanese government was secretive. They learned nothing of the war situation.

Graduation ceremony was held at a small space in front of a bomb shelter. The graduation song was not a common one. It was a military song. While they were singing that song, U.S. battle ships began to bomb so close to them that they couldn’t finish singing the song.

Hygienic soldiers reported to the surgeon when bringing in wounded soldiers, like “Such soldier from such company.” Such and such second lieutenant, private first class, buck private, then put down the stretcher on the ground. If the rank of the soldier was high, the surgeon commanded hygienic soldiers to prepare for treatment quickly, such as stopping bleeding. He told them, “Just leave him on the ground,” when the rank of the soldier was low, such as local defense corps or buck privates. She wondered if it was appropriate to say “Leave him on the ground” under such circumstances. Surgeon seemed as if he wanted to say, “Do you object to the defending of your island?” to the defense corps. He seemed as if he wanted to say “Tough it out. It’s for defending your island,” regardless of how severe the wound was. She thought it was outrageous for him to say that.

She kept her mouth shut until then. The newspaper reporter said to her, “Tell me everything without hiding anything, Miyagi-san.” She replied that she would be killed, if the Japanese military heard what she said. “Hey, it’s been 44 years after losing WWII. We lost the war,” he said. She said she was scared of talking about it even after Japan lost the war, as long as the Japanese military existed. It’s about shots, they were told to withdraw to the south from the Nagela bomb shelter. Along the way, two of them lent their shoulders to a wounded soldier in between. They took a break on the way uphill to Shikina cave, since they were exhausted. Five minutes break. Lay down the wounded soldier.” He told the nursing troops to gather. It was dark in the night. They gathered to where the voice of the surgeon was coming from. “I’m going to give each one of you a syringe. Go inside and give a shot to all of them in the cave,” the surgeon said. She began to shudder and thought “What a weird job again.” Every one of them had to do it, so she decided not to behave cowardly. She took a syringe from the surgeon like everyone else. “Come back in five minutes,” the surgeon commanded. There were lots of patients inside the Shikina cave right below them. Everyone went further into the cave, but she stood in front of a patient near the entrance. She didn’t know what to do. Everyone had already finished giving the shots and was leaving the cave. She wasn’t sure what to do. The patient said, “I know what that is. I’ll die here if you give me the shot.”

Ishikawa Secchan was sitting right behind Michiko. She stood behind the camouflage fence made of branches and looked out from the cave. She was watching how the enemy was advancing their attack through the leaves of the camouflage fence. Then all of sudden, “Bang!” a bomb hit, but She couldn’t tell where. Her ears were ringing due to the sound. She stood there trying to calm them. She realized that it was dangerous to stay near the entrance. So she thought that she needed to evacuate to the cave where her friends were. She turned around to go there. The friend sitting behind her named “Secchan,” had a piece of bomb struck to her shoulder. Blood was spouting like a fountain. She fell to the ground saying nothing. Secchan died on that night due to loss of blood. They carried Secchan to the hole and buried her next day after the sun had gone down. “Secchan, you are lucky.” “We are watching over you as you are buried.” “Who knows how and where in the field we’ll be killed.” “You are buried by many friends.” Secchan was the only one she witnessed the moment of her passing. That’s why she could never forget about her.

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