Hundreds honor Japanese American World War II veterans

Bill Thompson
Bill Thompson
Glen Arakaki
Glen Arakaki
Henry Lee
Henry Lee

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

PUNCHBOWL (KHNL) - They served with distinction during World War II, and Sunday, hundreds honor the sacrifices and accomplishments of Americans of Japanese Ancestry, at a special service.

The first Japanese American veteran died around this time during World War II. That's why they hold this third annual ceremony at Punchbowl. They hope to remind people whose responsible for the freedoms they enjoy today.

"Oh, I seen some old buddies that I've never seen for years, so it's very heart warming to see them again," World War II veteran Glen Aarakaki said.

Veterans took the time to rekindle lost friendships.

"First thing we do, we acknowledge that hey, we're still alive, we're still going strong, glad that we can still walk," Veteran Bill Thompson said.

He hopes people remember the men and women who fought for them.

"There's one word comes to my mind, patriotism, that our country needed our help and we answered the call and I hope the next generation, when our country needs our help will answer the call," he said.

Henry Lee feels the same way.

"I was wounded in Vietnam and I know the feeling of having to go through what they've gone through and more so, they've done so much in the same sense of serving the country," he said.

Lee tells us tradition plays a big part in Sunday's ceremony.

"I hope that the children of the 442nd and the 100 Battalion will continue to serve for their loved ones and their families, parents, make sure they carry on the tradition," Lee said.

Retired Major General for the U.S. Army Antonio Taguba feels the men who died while at war are some of the bravest individuals around.

"Despite the huge adversity these soldiers faced in time of war, it was their unrelenting pride to fulfill their sense of commitment as american citizens that continues to resonate even today (Sunday)," he said.

A commitment to keep all Americans safe. Nearly 800 Japanese American soldiers died in World War II. Families and friends hope the soldier's legacy lives on through ceremonies like the one held on Sunday.