A new documentary about the Japanese American soldiers who made up the 442nd regimental combat team in World War 2 is playing at the Ward theatre complex this week.
The film is called "442-Live With Honor; Die with Dignity," and it's the best movie I've ever seen about the brave Japanese Americans who, during World War 2, proved their loyalty to this country with their own blood.
Twice I was moved to tears by the honest emotions of this powerful documentary.
As president Harry Truman, told the units at the end of the war, "You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice and you've won."
The young Japanese Americans who made up the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th battalion went to war for this country even though members of their own families were considered enemy aliens and on the west coast a hundred thousand of them were forced out of their homes into internment camps.
These courageous men were given the most dangerous assignments because the army command considered them expendable. But they saw their risky missions as a chance to demonstrate their worth.
And they succeeded beyond all expectations though they lost so many men they became known as the Purple Heart Battalion.
Veteran Japanese director Junichi Suzuki got great interviews from several of the men who survived and are now in their 80's and 90's.
"All of a sudden a German popped up and shot me, says one man. "He just point blank missed. I should have been dead."
We learn that senator Dan Inouye was a sniper because he was the best shooter in his unit.
and we are shown the history of the 442nd's high risk missions in Italy and France.
The men don't consider themselves heroes; they speak of how awful it was to kill people. and to this day they mourn the loss of so many of their friends and comrades in arms.
"I wear this medal for those that didn't come home," says another man with tears in his eyes.
The local veterans who saw the film at its first screening say it's a true account of their experiences, the most honest one they've seen.
I thought I knew plenty about the 442nd, but I learned a lot more from watching this heartfelt, well made movie.
I urge you to see it in its exclusive run this week at the Ward theatre complex.