National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks Sponsor First-Ever December 7th Reading Aloud Event with 6,000-Plus Students across Hawaii—11 Big Island School Participate
Every December 7th, thousands of people from around the world gather at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center in Honolulu to pay tribute to the thousands of military service members and civilians who lost their lives in the name of freedom in 1941. For the few surviving Pearl Harbor survivors who are able to make the trek to this sacred place, their message to future generations is clear: Remember Pearl Harbor, the tremendous sacrifice that was made that day, and the terrible consequences of war.
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (Aug. 31, 2011) Sailors and Marines render honors as the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) passes the USS Arizona Memorial while entering Pearl Harbor for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin B. Gray
For the first time ever, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks shared the historical significance of that day with 6,000-plus school-age children across Hawaii with a simultaneous reading aloud program at 3 p.m. on December 7.
Through the Department of Education’s and the Island of Hawaii YMCA’s A+ Afterschool Care Programs, Big Island students at 11 schools joined their peers from across the state in learning about the real life story of an unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor Survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe.
Thousands of elementary and intermediate school children in A+ Afterschool Care Programs heard the true life story of an unlikely friendship between Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe through the reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.”
Participating Hawaii Island schools included De Silva Elementary, Keaukaha Elementary, St. Joseph School, Keaau Elementary, Honokaa Elementary, Waimea Elementary, Kohala Elementary, Kealakehe Elementary, Holualoa Elementary, Kamehameha Schools and the YMCA’s Club Y Teens program.
The children’s book, entitled “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another.
“As stewards of the USS Arizona Memorial and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, the National Park Service’s mission is to preserve and share the history of the Pacific War, including what took place at Pearl Harbor 71 years ago,” said National Park Service Superintendent Paul DePrey.
“Sharing the message of peace and reconciliation amongst thousands of young children across Hawaii is significant. The story of Richard Fiske and Zenji Abe is proof that through friendship and peace, we can make this a better world for future generations.”
Pacific Historic Parks purchased 175 copies of the book to provide to each participating school. Pacific Historic Parks, a cooperating association that assists the National Park Service, supports the education, preservation, development and interpretation of four National Park-managed historic sites throughout the Pacific, including Pearl Harbor.
A marine bugler on the USS West Virginia, Fiske witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the massive destruction that happened at the hands of Japanese fighter pilots. For many years, his heart was filled with anger and hatred for the Japanese and his health suffered because of this. Hospitalized due to the stress of his anger, he knew he had to forgive the Japanese for what they had done in the name of war or face imminent death due to his failing health. In 1991, during the 5oth Anniversary Pearl Harbor Symposium, Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe offered an apology for the attack to members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors and extended his hand in friendship. Fiske accepted his apology and the two became friends. As a symbol of peace and friendship, Abe gave Fiske $300 and asked him to lay two roses at the Arizona Memorial each month, one for him and one for Fiske. He also asked Fiske to play the taps on his bugle after he did this. Fiske honored this request every month until he passed away in 2004.
“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship” is a children’s book written by Pearl Harbor civilian survivor and author Dorinda Nicholson. The book, which has won numerous national awards including the International Reading Association’s Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Award, is written as a correspondence between the author and her granddaughter, recounting the story of two World War II veterans—an American Marine and a Japanese pilot-—whose lives intersected in war at Pearl Harbor and again in reconciliation fifty years later.
Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School, reads “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship.” Photo: Fern Gavelek Communications
“It’s a very inspirational book and the second time I read it, I cried,” says Hakunani Anakalea, group leader at the A+ program at Holualoa Elementary School. “The book makes the emotions of the characters come alive and illustrates the importance of forgiveness.”
Fifth grade student Anuhea Kainoa-Cho shared that the book had a good story and added, “I learned about protecting others and why people should make up when they disagree.”
Hakunani Anakalea reads to the students
“Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” can be purchased online at www.pacifichistoricparksbookstore.org, phone 1-888-485-1941. As part of its reading aloud program, the National Park Service has posted several other real life stories of Pearl Harbor survivors on their website for parents to read to their children. Go to www.nps.gov/valr/forkids.
Witness To History Videoconference Program
The National Park Service, with funding from Pacific Historic Parks, also offers a year round distance learning program for students and teachers from around the world. Witness To History is a free program that utilizes videoconferencing technology to take students where visitors cannot go, bringing the sites and stories of Pearl Harbor to children and adults unable to visit Oahu. The program includes a Pearl Harbor Survivor Series where participants can see and hear Pearl Harbor Survivors share their personal testimonies of what they experienced on that fateful day. The Interpretive Ranger Series shows a video of a USS Arizona underwater dive while a National Park Ranger provides a voice-over interpretive lesson. The program ends with a student and educator question and answer session. For more information or to schedule a free Witness To History videoconference, contact 808-954-8744 or 808-4428.
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