On Maui, a pledge never to forget those lost in the ‘Forgotten War’

Some 36,000 U.S. servicemembers were killed during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 6:39 PM HST|Updated: May. 29, 2023 at 7:49 PM HST
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MAKAWAO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Army veteran Henry Shimomura, 94, is a man of few words.

He sums up his time as an infantryman in the Korean War with just one.

“Rough,” said Shimomura, an attendee at a Memorial Day ceremony at Maui’s Veterans Cemetery in Makawao.

Some 36,000 U.S. servicemembers were killed during the Korean War, often called the “Forgotten War,” from 1950 to 1953. “When I came back, I tried to forget what I went through,” said Shimomura.

Shimomura explained why it’s still so hard for him to talk about it.

“My buddy in front of me, he was the radioman, he got shot right in front of me. So, I don’t want to remember those memories.”

Monday’s ceremony started with a flower drop. Thousands of flower petals delicately descended onto the approximately 3,300 graves. It was followed by a dove release, symbolizing peace, hope and freedom.

Keynote speaker Brigadier General Walter R. Ross Jr. and Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen reiterated that Memorial Day is far more than just a holiday. It’s a day dedicated to those who paid the ultimate price.

“We know the old phrase that ‘freedom is not free’ and it can come with the cost of the ultimate sacrifice of our fallen,” said Bissen.

“We owe them an eternal gratitude. Because of them, our nation survives today,” Ross said.

The ceremony continued with a medley of songs for each military branch. Each service member stood with great pride when their song was played.

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute, taps, and a tremendous respect for those who gave their all.

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