Japan held its one year anniversary of the tsunami disaster. Though this blog is dedicated to African children but the plight of children of the world is shared for they are all angels in the eyes of God. We know through prayers and the spirit of resilience, the children of Japan will grow up to build a better nation and a better world.
Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan gathered Sunday amid tears, prayers and a moment of silence to mark one year since an earthquake and tsunami killed thousands, and triggered the world's worst nuclear crisis in a quarter century.
Throngs nationwide observed a moment of silence at 2:46 p.m. local time (12:46 a.m. ET), the exact time the earth shook on March 11, 2011.
At the main event at a Tokyo theater, hundreds bowed their heads in silence during the service.
"A lot of lives were lost ... I feel the grieving families' pain and I cannot express my sorrow enough," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said at the ceremony.
Emperor Akihito, who is recovering from recent surgery, also attended.
"I'd like to express my mourning for the people who passed away a year ago ... almost 20,000 died and others remain missing. Many of them were firefighters," the emperor said.
Government officials and victims' relatives laid flowers at a shrine set up at the front of the theater.
In tsunami-ravaged towns along the northeast, residents solemnly placed wreaths where homes once stood. Warning sirens wailed in some areas at the precise time the quake struck.
Clad in black, residents of Ofunato gathered to pay tribute to hundreds of the town's residents killed during the earthquake and tsunami. Some wept quietly.
The 9.0-magnitude quake shifted the earth's axis and unleashed a wall of water that swept away lives and homes. Million of people fled for higher ground. Nearly 16,000 people died and 3,000 others remain missing.