NEW YORK – Family members of Japanese killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks marked the 12th anniversary Wednesday at a ceremony in New York, with one expressing concern about the implications of a possible U.S. attack on Syria and calling for ending the cycle of hatred and retribution.
Haruhiro Shiratori, 73, lost his only son, Atsushi, 36, who was working for a securities company.
“Having lost my son, I still have a gaping hole in my heart,” Shiratori said.
Using some of the assets left by his son, Shiratori made many visits to Afghanistan to donate pencils, notebooks and clothes to children in the country, which was invaded by the United States.
In Afghanistan, Shiratori saw children orphaned or seriously injured by U.S. bombs. He said the children told him they would one day take revenge on the U.S.
“The U.S. attacked (Afghanistan and Iraq) thinking it was for justice. An attack on Syria will probably be the same. But children harboring hatred will become the second and third generation of terrorist elements,” Shiratori said.
“If the U.S. keeps repeating this kind of thing, it will have to be scared of terrorism forever,” he said.
Kazusada Sumiyama, 76, who lost his banker son Yoichi Sugiyama, 34, attended the ceremony at the former site of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers with his wife, Mari, 73, holding flowers and paper cranes in their hands. Their son changed his surname to Sugiyama when he got married.
“In this sky today, there must be many people who died without a sin. I want to tell them, ‘Please take care of my son and the world in the future,’ ” Mari said.