The dedication of the Pacific War Memorial in the Veteran’s Grove
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 16:09
Last Saturday, students, faculty and guests gathered in the SSU Veteran’s Memorial Grove for the dedication of the Pacific War Memorial.
The granite bench that marks the locations is inscribed with the name of the memorial and its date of dedication in both English and Chinese, honors the 35 million people killed during the war between China and Japan that lasted from 1931-1945.
Professor of mathematics Jean Bee Chan and her husband spent a year volunteering, fundraising, and negotiating with SSU to build the memorial, and commissioned the bench with design help from Christopher Dinno, the vice president of administration and finance.
“The rock is significant. It is the first memorial in North America to honor the memory of all 35 million Pacific War victims,” said Chan during her speech at the ceremony. “The enormity of 35 million is staggering. If you add up the entire population of the 27 most populous cities...it is still under 35 million.”
Together, President and Mrs Ruben Armiñana, Chan, Math and Statistics Club Presidents Michael Cardoso and Jacob Holman, and Pi Mu Epsilon Math Honor Society President Robin Decker untied the ribbon finalize the ceremony.
In addition to the bench there are now 26 new memorial bricks, which were sponsored by the survivors or the relatives of people affected by the Pacific War. These sponsors or their representatives each took a turn at the podium, reading their individual messages and separated by the ringing of a bell.
There were over 120 people present at the ceremony.
“The memorial bricks were sponsored by the survivors or their relatives of the Pacific War,” said Chan in an email interview. “Most of them are my colleagues in the Movement to gain formal apology, pass by the Diet (Japanese political unit, like U.S. Congress) and signed by the Japanese Emperor (it must be signed by the Emperor for the document to be legal) and just compensation from the Government of Japan for the untold atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Military 1931-1945.”
Chan is the president of the Rape of Nanking Redress Coalition based in the greater bay Area.
“Words cannot capture the overwhelming tragedy of genocides and wars, and of human capacity for inhumanity,” said Chan.
“This memorial rock speaks volumes to express the weight of the forgotten Asian Holocaust.”