On March 11, 2011 Japan was struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 that shook it to its core. The earthquake caused a tsunami that swept away a majority of the northern coast. On March 11th at 2:46 Pm, Japan was changed forever.
Less than an hour after the earthquake, the first of many tsunami waves hit Japan's northern coastline. The waves reached up to 128 feet and traveled inland as far as 6 miles. The waves overtopped and destroyed the tsunami protection walls in most coastal cities. More than 18,000 people were killed in this disaster and most of those lives were taken by the water.
Japan is a country of earthquake and tsunami "pros", the small island experiences them regularly so when the March 11th earthquake struck only 58 percent of people headed for higher grounds. Many people underestimated their personal risk or assumed the tsunami would be as small as the ones they had encountered previously.
If an earthquake and tsunami weren't enough, the nuclear meltdown quickly began. The earthquake and tsunami caused a cooling system failure at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, which resulted in a level 7 nuclear meltdown and the release of radioactive materials.
Now, three years later Japan continues to rebuild itself. The people in Japan continue to hold dear to their hope and they continue to celebrate the joys in life. In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami the United States Military and Japan Self Defense forces worked together in the Tomodachi Operation and provided immediately relief to the Tohoku area. This Operation was such a success that not long after the Tomodachi Initiative was started. The Tomodachi Initiative utilizes the support of the U.S. and Japanese government. It focuses on the next generation of Japanese and American leaders through educational and cultural exchanges as well as leadership programs.
Today is a reminder of the lives that were lost in this devastating natural disaster just three years ago. As Americans continue with their everyday lives, there are people who are STILL living in the aftermath of this devastation. Today is a reminder of how precious time really is and how a nation like Japan has united to"rebuild" their beloved land.