Pacific War Memorial planned for SSU Sept. 14
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The atrocities and war crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces during World War II in the Pacific remain to this day only partly understood in the West.

The new Pacific War Memorial installation at Sonoma State University’s Erna and Arthur Salm Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Grove is designed to remember those victims, to educate and inform general public opinion on the history of the war in the Pacific, 1931-1945, and to offer a measure of peace and reconciliation for survivors of those atrocities and families of victims.

The new elements will be dedicated Saturday, Sept. 14, in a public ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on the Rohnert Park campus. The public is invited to attend.

The memorial for Pacific War victims includes an 11-foot granite rock bench, engraved in both English and Chinese script, flanking a pathway inscribed with memorial messages for victims of the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces, 1931-45. The rock is designed as a resting place for visitors to sit and contemplate the meaning of the messages on the pathway bricks.

“The Pacific War (World War II in the Asian-Pacific Theater) was a time of extraordinary atrocities and war crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces on mainland Asia and Island Nations of the Pacific,” says SSU Professor Jean Bee Chan and her husband Peter Stanek, organizers of the memorial project.

“Sixty-eight years after the end of the war, the Japanese government has neither acknowledged nor apologized for her war crimes, nor offered satisfactory and just repayment to the victims.”

Chan lost her young brother during the war and has a special brick in his name at the site.

“My brother got sick without any medical attention and food since the Japanese Imperial Military bombed local medical facilities, and Japanese soldiers regularly raided our rural village to steal our animals and crops,” she says. “My mother is now 96 years old and she still mourns the loss of her only son.”

The dedication program, from 1:30-2:30 p.m., includes SSU President Ruben Arminana, who will cut the ribbon and read the inscription on the new Memorial Rock Bench. 

Performances feature a song (lamenting the loss of homeland in Manchuria in 1931) by the Redwood Empire Chinese Association Chorus and Erhu (a two-stringed fiddle) music by Xiaofeng Zhang, Jumping Buddha Ensemble.

A reception follows in the Commons from 2:30-4 p.m.

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