Japanese & American Veterans Play Ball - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Japanese & American Veterans Play Ball

Les Lunasco Les Lunasco
Loren Pete Murphy Loren Pete Murphy
Kazuo Watanabe Kazuo Watanabe
Bud Scott Bud Scott

By Mari-Ela David

WAIPAHU (KHNL) -- After fighting against each other more than 60 years ago, Japanese and American veterans faced-off again Tuesday. But this time their battle ground was a baseball field.

Pacific War veterans played against each other in a softball match at Hans L'Orange field. They were on opposing teams, but this time, it wasn't about winning or losing.

They're familiar enemies who once fought violently against each other. More than 6 decades later, hitting the ball is the only kind of hitting in this battle.

"It's about friendship. We fought the World War 2 and now we want to play against them in baseball instead of shooting at them, this is what it's all about," said Les Lunasco, the coordinator for the Hawaii team.

Japanese and American veterans came out, armed with bats and gloves instead of weapons. Although they were on opposing teams, they shared the same sentiment.

"I have no ill feelings toward them now," said Loren Pete Murphy, a U.S. WWII veteran.

"We just want to share what the meaning of peace, what the significance of peace is, which has been over 60 years between Japan and U.S.," said Kazuo Watanabe, a Japanese WWII veteran.

There were three teams: Hawaii, Florida Kids & Kubs, and Japan's Over the Rainbows. The average age of the players is 80.

"It's a blessing, I mean look at at this, I mean they can run they can hit they can throw, baseball is in our blood," said Lunasco.

And if there was any bad blood between them in the past, you could no longer tell today.

"The fact that at one time it wasn't good, but we need to show that people can get along and we are friends forever," said U.S. WWII veteran Bud Scott.

Once divided, now they stand side by side, proving that even the fiercest enemies can become friends.

Veterans chose to play in Honolulu because Hawaii is in between japan and the mainland.

There were two games: Florida won the first game against Hawaii, and Hawaii beat out Japan in the second.

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