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As clocks struck 2:46 p.m., yesterday, people across Japan shared a moment of silence to remember massive 9.0 earthquake that rattled the country one year ago on March 11, 2011. From somber memorials to messages of hope, iReporters captured the array of emotions marking the anniversary.
Nearly 16,000 people died and 3,000 others remain missing after the earthquake and tsunami. Thousands streamed into Hibiya Park in Tokyo, Japan, many of them crying silently during a memorial. iReporter Cristian Williams said he felt a "mutual feeling of respect" throughout the crowd, between those who were affected by the disaster and those who wanted to offer their support.
"Towards the end, after 2:46, it seemed to take a turn towards optimism," Williams said. "Many talked about how recovering made Japan and its people much stronger. No one would forget 3-11-11, but everyone won't dwell on it. Japan will recover and continue to strive."
Elsewhere in Tokyo, it appeared a normal day -- reflecting how life has moved on from tragedy -- as shoppers walked through the upscale shopping district of Ginza.
"A year has passed with much, pain, shock and silence," said iReporter Allan Cook, who was commuting to his job as an English teacher in central Tokyo when the earthquake hit. "I think now we really need to celebrate the lives of those that died. And we need to bring back the happiness to those that survived and are suffering."
And across the Pacific, earthquake survivor Ayack Alberto Montalvan Aleman spoke about his experience at a candlelight ceremony in Managua, Nicaragua. The event was organized by students that studied in Japan.
"We wanted to organize this in order for us as Nicaraguans to say, 'We are here, and we are supporting you Japan,'" he said.
Dozens of iReporters who witnessed the earthquake and tsunami gave us updates on how their lives have changed over the past year. From uncertainty to courage, distrust to control, and despair to hope, we told the stories of five of these iReporters in a story that ran on CNN.com yesterday.
Thank you for sharing your powerful stories. And, in the words of the Japanese posters that have cropped up all over the country: "Japan, Rising Again. Thank you for your support."
I feel sad because of the quake and i know they been through some
times but i know that they are going to heel up there broken hearts.
All those inisant people barried in the earthquake. I feel bad for family members of the people that got barried.
soooo sad for them i wish we could just help them even more