Kobe and the surrounding area on Friday morning marked a quarter century since the Great Hanshin Earthquake devastated the region, killing 6,434 people in what was then Japan's worst postwar natural disaster.

Survivors, their family members — including many who were born long after the Jan. 17, 1995, quake — and visitors gathered at a park in central Kobe to observe a moment of silence at 5:46 a.m., when the magnitude 7.3 quake struck.

That poignant moment was followed by the playing of "Hana wa Saku" ("Flowers Will Bloom"), a song of support for victims of the quake, by a solo trumpeter while old and young alike lit candles, offered prayers, shed a few silent tears and remembered the day that changed their lives forever.