Fumiko Shimabukuro will never forget the kindness of Americans during the Battle of Okinawa.

In the spring of 1945, the 15-year-old fled for days from cave to cave beneath bombardments so ferocious that Okinawans compared them to storms of steel. Shimabukuro witnessed scenes no civilian should ever see: a baby decapitated by shrapnel being carried by its mother, ponds dyed red by the blood of corpses.

Eventually, in the south of the island, Shimabukuro found shelter in a small cave packed with 20 other civilians.