Japanese ambassador pays respects to fallen service members[MIGRATE]

By Lance Cpl. Cristina Noelia Gil | March 23, 2009


. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Cristina Noelia Gil)

Ichiro Fujisaki (left), Japan’s ambassador to the United States, and Gene Castagnetti (right), director of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, honor the service members who have given their lives for the U.S. and its allies March 23.

Fujisaki laid a wreath and bowed his head as U.S. Marines displayed the Japanese flag and the American colors.

“I am very privileged to be in such a great place -- a place that has been maintained very well to pay honors to those who have given their lives,” said Fujisaki. “Here, they are resting in peace.”

To close the ceremony, Fujisaki signed the cemetery’s official guest book commemorating his visit, a tradition for official guests who come to pay their respects. Castagnetti then presented Fujisaki with a gift on behalf of the cemetery.

After the ceremony, Castagnetti led Fujisaki to the gravesites of Ernie Pyle and several Japanese-American service members.

Fujisaki has been visiting government officials across the Hawaiian Islands and is scheduled to meet with Gov. Linda Lingle and Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.