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American Cemetery in Manila

There is a place called American Cemetery near the largest business center of the Philippines, Makati, in Manila. This is a cemetery for American and Filipino soldiers who died during the World War 2. Tens of thousands of crosses line up in this huge almost park like cemetery. The white areas on both sides behind the trees in the picture below are those crosses on the lawn. What you see is only a small portion of the vast cemetery. In the center of the cemetery is a large corridor on the walls of which are engraved names of those soldiers who lost their lives in the war. By looking at those names and their places of birth, we can see that those soldiers were from all over the United States and the Philippines. We have a tendency to think in terms of sacrifices and misery of war from our side as Japanese. But when I stand here in this cemetery, I am forced to think the misery and suffering of war from the side of these people. It aches my heart to think so many people lost their lives because of the war against Japan. Ironically the cemetery is so beautiful that the misery of war is somehow numbed. But whenever I stand here, I begin to think of the importance to think things from the other people’s perspectives.


                                (American Cemetery in Manila, 2006)

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