Medal of Honor recipient buried at Punchbowl

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon
Eddie Yamasaki
Eddie Yamasaki
Glenn Hajiro
Glenn Hajiro

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - An honor guard carried his coffin as family and former 442nd Regimental Combat Team comrades gave a final salute to Barney Hajiro.

"It was just an honor for me to be here today to pay my respects to such a great American," U.S. Army Pacific Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon said.

During World War II, Hajiro charged an enemy occupied hill in France and wiped out two German machine gun nests.

"He just stood up and did his job," said Eddie Yamasaki, who served alongside him..

In 2000, after 56 years and a Pentagon review, President Clinton presented him with the Medal of Honor.

"Then I found out all the things that he did and I said, 'Gee, how come you don't say anything?' He said he doesn't want to brag," Hajiro's son, Glenn, said.

At 94, Hajiro was the nation's oldest surviving Medal of Honor recipient until he died last month of cancer.

The medal is synonymous with his name but not his identity.

"He didn't want to wear it because he thought he'd be a show off," Yamasaki said.

At his funeral, a rifle volley and a helicopter flyover preceded the presentation of colors to his widow, Esther.

His son said his father served by a simple set of rules.

"That was his words: You gave your oath. Defend your country. Don't bring shame," Glenn Hajiro said.

Under a hazy sky with the flag he fought for flying at half-staff, Hajiro made his last march to his final resting place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

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