Honoring Nisei soldiers on Veterans Day

By Paul Drewes
Published On: Nov 12 2013 12:18:13 AM HST
Updated On: Nov 12 2013 07:00:10 AM HST

On this Veteran's Day, we honor those who fought for our country, including Hawaii's Nisei veterans of World War II.

HONOLULU -

On Veterans Day, those who fought for our country are honored, including Hawaii's Nisei veterans of World War II.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' report.

The group of soldiers, now in their late 80s and early 90s, stands out for their great number of sacrifices.  The group also stand out for its shrinking number of heroes.

A special sunset ceremony on board the Battleship Missouri Memorial honored Hawaii Nisei veterans from World War II who leave behind a legacy of courage and commitment.

"That was 71 years ago, yet we still remember those days. We cherish what we did," said Isao Takiyama, who was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Thousands braved battlefields in Europe and earned medals for their heroic efforts.
They fiercely fought for the United States, even though they faced prejudice and discrimination at home.

"After looking at my application, a man hiring looked at me and said 'We don't hire Japs,"' said former 100th Infantry Battalion member Charles Tanaka.

Hundreds of the Nisei heroes died during the war.


Over the years many more have passed away.

"We have very few now. They're still living, but they cannot walk. They in a care home," said Tommy Nishioka, who was a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion.

A new exhibit on the Mighty Mo showed the Nisei veterans as they fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 1399th Engineer Construction and 100th Infantry Battalions, along with the Military Intelligence Service.
They were once Bands of brothers that have turned into seemingly solo acts.

"A lot of the guys are not here anymore. In fact, I am just about the only one left in my squad," said Don Matsuda, who was a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion.

The soldiers marched across Europe and fought armies, but now it is a challenge for them to stay in touch with the remaining members of these elite groups.

"At this age there are a lot of members that can't drive anymore, they are in wheelchair or use canes, so it is pretty hard to get together," said Takashi Bolo Shirakata, who was with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

That is why they said Veterans Day meant so much to them. Not only was it a chance for them to get together, it was also a very visible reminder the people of Hawaii haven't forgotten about their sacrifices, struggles and successes.

"After seeing so many guys wounded and killed, to celebrate this day is deep in our hearts," said Takiyama.

The Nisei exhibit on the Mighty Mo will be on display at least through Dec. 7, and may remain in place through the end of the year.

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