National Geographic : 1955 Feb
Okinawa, the Island Rebuilt BY HOPE A. DIFFENDERFER Blackie Bradford BEFORE we went to Okinawa, which has now been our home for seven years, my husband Earl and I asked ex-serv icemen who had fought there what it was like. They all said, "Awful!" With this build-up we didn't expect much of Okinawa. Perhaps it is because we ex pected so little that we have found so much and have so often been pleasantly surprised. As a civil service employe, my husband had to wait his turn on the housing list; so more than a year passed before the children and I steamed into Naha Harbor aboard the United States Army transport General R. M. Blatch ford to join him. The muggy, stifling heat of Okinawa, well publicized in the States, greeted us immediately. While we waited in the harbor for tugs to dock our ship, we had time for a good look at Naha and its surroundings. I had heard much about the greenness of the island. It appeared green indeed, but it was the grubby greenness of masses of dusty weeds. War Made Capital a Ghost Town Before the war Naha, the island's capital, was a modern city of 65,000, with a few fire proof buildings, electricity, and telephones.* However, as we viewed the land that day, there was nothing in sight but bombed-out shells of buildings. It was a ghost town. * See "Peacetime Rambles in the Ryukyus," by Wil liam Leonard Schwartz, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGA ZINE, May, 1945.