Heroes of the Vosges

Heroes of the Vosges is an exciting new project that is underway in Bruyeres. A museum that will preserve the legacy of the Nisei soldiers of the 100th/442nd RCT. Alongside, the men and women of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) will see their contributions highlighted.

Heroes of the Vosges: Hill 555 monument

New museum

Efforts are underway to create a new museum in Bruyeres that will make the stories of the Nisei soldiers who played such a significant role in the Battle for Bruyeres and the Rescue of the Lost Battalion accessible to a wider audience.

Driving force behind the initiative, Carl Williams, is no stranger to the area. Nor is he shy in taking on a project he firmly believes in. Six years ago, on 15 October 2017, Carl saw the unveiling of a granite sculpture. Representing the regimental shoulder patch of the 442nd RCT, it materialised on Hill 555.

Heroes of the Vosges: initiative of Carl Williams

With this new initiative, he hopes to create a destination attraction that will bring more visitors to the region. The aim: to develop a space where preservation and explanation of the role of the Nisei and of the FFI is central.

Heroes of the Vosges

The town of Bruyeres has given approval to create a start-up museum, tentatively called “Heroes of the Vosges Museum”. The ultimate goal is a stand-alone museum. The initial set-up has a more temporary character in order to quickly gather and protect artefacts to prevent their loss. Many descendants are faced with clearing out their veteran’s belongings. As a result, interesting artefacts are discarded by descendants who may not be fully aware of their importance.

Carl got inspiration for the museum from seeing a relative’s war time memorabilia nearly discarded.

“My wife’s uncle, Kiyoshi ono, served in Battery B of the 522nd FAB at the Battle of Bruyeres and the rescue of the so-called Texas Lost Battalion. After his death, Kiyoshi’s daughter found several boxes of artefacts that belonged to him. Fortunately, before discarding them, she was made aware of their historic value and preserved them”, Carl explained.

He realised that with the passing of almost all the Nisei veterans, many more of similar artefacts risked being lost. Descendants unaware of their significance would see no reason to keep them.

What can you do for Heroes of the Vosges Museum?

Countless families hold precious mementos that once belonged to the valiant Nisei. These items carry not only historical significance but also personal and emotional value. By donating them to the museum you will be actively contributing to the preservation of this vital chapter in American history.

Details of the museum plans, the formal approval document from Bruyeres and the form to accompany all donations are available on the newly-created website vosgesheroes.org.

The need for the museum is two-fold. To provide for the running costs of the museum, monetary donations are needed. To that end, the initiators established a Museum Fund. In addition to cash donations, the museum allso welcomes the donation of artefacts to establish displays.

Among the items that are suitable for donation are documents and items from military service and from the internment camps, as well as from families in Hawaii. Letters, photographs, service records, uniforms, medals, citations and souvenirs brought back from Europe are all of interest to the museum. Most of these are now in the hands of children and grandchildren of the Nisei and FFI members who all face the choice of what to keep and what to let go of.

Heroes of the Vosges: proceeds of book will fund museum

Carl also wrote and published a bi-lingual children’s book that tells the story of a little girl, Marie of Bruyeres, who meets one of the Nisei liberators. All proceeds of the book sale will be donated to the Museum Fund.

More information

For any questions regarding the museum or donations you would like too make, please contact Carl Williams at cwilliams@intl-aero.net or 916-233-8069.

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