Mainland School Pays Tribute To Pearl Harbor Survivors

Mal Middlesworth
Mal Middlesworth
Band Director James Baker
Band Director James Baker

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - They march in -- in unison, and in order, paying tribute to Pearl Harbor survivors and our men and women in the military.

La Quinta High School from Southern California has been planning this event for more than two years, learning from Pearl Harbor survivors.

"It was just an amazing experience to witness such a first hand account of what really happened at Pearl Harbor," said Yuki Akaishi, band president and a trombone player.

Students say this is a valuable history lesson.

"They had a big responsibility to defend our country at such a young age," said Nieko Gunther, a band member who plays the snare drum.

The band's performance struck a chord with survivors.

"Well, to hear those songs on this location brings back a lot of memories," said Mal Middlesworth, an 83-year-old Pearl Harbor veteran. "It's an honor for us to be here with this band."

For band director James Baker, this trip is a labor of love.

"To come here after they've met and love our Pearl Harbor survivors and see it first hand, and be with our own Pearl Harbor survivor here really means a lot to them," he said. "And then to get a chance to play at a historic place is really significant and meaningful for all of us."

And for Japanese American Yuki Akaishi, this experience brought some closure to what happened during the war.

"I think I've come to peace what happened at Pearl Harbor, despite the conflicts in the past, I think I've been able to merge the two cultures together," she said.

Learning from the past towards a better future.