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Nisei World War II heroes honored

Posted: Monday, Nov 12th, 2012

Veterans Ben Umeda (center), Joe Myers (seated) and Harry Wiggins (far right) join a gathering Saturday at the Pajaro Valley Memorial Cemetery to honor World War II Japanese American soldiers. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — World War II Japanese American soldiers were recognized and honored Saturday as part of Veterans Day events. Members of the Watsonville/Santa Cruz Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League staged a special re-dedication ceremony that drew about 90 people to the Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.

The 1963 bronze plaque, once stationed at the water plant on Freedom Boulevard, was recovered and given a new home, at the base of the flagpole at P.V. Memorial Park. The plaque was created by the Nisei Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9466, and the (then) Watsonville JACL.

“We are grateful to all of our nation’s veterans and in all branches of the service,” said keynote speaker Mas Hashimoto. “Today we honor our veterans and their families.”

Hashimoto went on to highlight several area Nisei veterans and their unwavering accomplishments in the service. He explored how, in 1943, more than 1,200 internees at the Poston Internment Camp volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army. Many of them went into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team while others went into Military Intelligence Service. The 100th/442nd RCT became one of the most highly decorated unit for its size and length of service.

The brief ceremony included a 21-gun salute by the Honor Guard of the VFW, Freedom Post 1716, and an invocation by The Rev. Shousei Hanayama.

“Let’s extend our deepest appreciation for our soldiers that have passed away,” Hanayama said.

For the complete article see the 11-13-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-13-2012 paper.

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