We will remember them…

“We will remember them…”

The pledge concludes the poem For the Fallen.

Remember the fallen: the poppy is the flower of remembrance

November is definitely the month dedicated to the memory of those who are no longer with us.

All Saints Day and Day of the Dead on November 1st, Remembrance Day or Veterans Day on the 11th, and various other national occasions for remembrance of some sort in between the two …  

Which day and how you observe the occasion largely depends largely on where in the world you live. The 1st of November tends to be a more private occasion where families pay a visit to the cemetery. The 11th on the other hand finds its origins in the end of the First World War and is more of a public occasion.

In France, Remembrance Day – known as Armistice Day there – is one of the most important military celebrations and a national holiday. In virtually every town, public servants as well as military representatives will gather around the local monument that honours those that perished in both World Wars.

Remembering the Nisei soldiers

Luckily, when it comes to remembering the men of the 100th/442nd who fought in Italy and France, we don’t have to wait until November. There is opportunity year-round to visit the battlefields and pay respects.

Join us for a “remembrance tour in pictures” with family members who took the opportunity to remember their Nisei soldier where they fell.

The Po Valley Campaign Study tour (May-June)

This trip coincided at the start with Memorial Day and the ceremonies at both the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery near Anzio and the Florence American Cemetery gave the group ample opportunity for reflection.

The Miyoko and Sato family gathered by the grave of Noboru Miyoko (100th Bn, B Co) in Florence to remember his life and service. During their last visit in 2019, the cemetery grounds were undergoing significant works to improve drainage. Seeing the graves returned to their manicured green setting gave peace of mind to the family.

In Tendola, Shiz Nakawatase experienced a poignant moment. Mario Mariani showed him the area where his brother Joe Hayashi (3rd Bn, K Co) was killed. He fell in the attempt to clear the enemy positions on the nearby heights of Monte Nebbione.

The Vosges Extension (June)

More members of the Miyoko family joined for the visit to Bruyeres and Biffontaine. Mitsuru Miyoko (100th Bn, A Co) was killed in action on the first day of the advance on Bruyeres. The Epinal American Cemetery is his last resting place. The headstone unfortunately showed a spelling mistake in his name. After a lengthy process to correct the mistake, a new headstone now recognizes him by the right name. The presence of Rich Meylan, who has “adopted” Mitsuru’s grave, made the occasion for remembrance even more special.

From the Gustav Line to the Gothic Line (September)

The story of Clifford Hana (2nd Bn, F Co) ran through most of the trip as a continuous thread. From following in his footsteps up on Hill 140, to feverishly trying to collect more information. And from overlooking the field where he lost his life to visiting his grave site at Florence American Cemetery. It was a personal mission for his nephew Howard Hodges.

Joanne Sakai and Davide del Giudice recreated a photo Davide took with Lawson Sakai (2nd Bn, E Co). He stood in the same spot when he revisited his Company’s taking of the Carchio Ridge.

The Battle for Bruyeres and the Rescue of the Lost Battalion (October)

In Biffontaine, our group attended the commemoration at the memorial plaque for George Suyama (100th Bn, A Co). The unveiling by Carl Williams took place during our visit in 2019. Carl also explained the story behind the monument on Hill 555 the following day.

Ron Oshima and Quincey and Collin Kawahara laid down a wreath during the remembrance ceremony for the Battle of Bruyeres. Meanwhile, mom Martie Quan Kawahara found out her uncle (Leighton) Goro Sumida (100th Bn, A Co) is quite well known in this corner of France, thanks to his chibi.

Fred and Cheri Westdale shared the story of how their dad Virgil Westdale (522nd FAB, HQ Bat) ended up in the artillery unit rather than flying planes. After the Pearl Harbour bombings he no longer had flying privileges. It took decades for someone to remember to return his wings to him on occasion of his 100th birthday!

We remember all soldiers

The soldiers mentioned here are only a small selection and by no means the only ones remembered, as of course everyone on the tours had a personal connection to someone in the 100th/442nd/MIS.

Remembrance can take different forms. Spending a moment in quiet contemplation. Taking part in official ceremonies. Or joining a tour to meet the people locally who still appreciate the sacrifices the soldiers made. With ever fewer veterans still around to remind us of those we lost, it is up to us to say We will remember them.

2 thoughts on “We will remember them…

  1. Hi Nora–Glad you’re back on the trail! Reading your comments on Tendola, the Vosges, Bruyeres, etc., accompanying the photos was quite nostalgic for me! Appreciate especially your last paragraph on remembrance. Gail Okawa

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