Hawaii Students Visiting American Heroes Exhibit at Bishop Museum

American Heroes

Students from Hawaii Schools who will be visiting the American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal exhibit at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum on April 10, 11 and 14, and will get to experience a piece of “living history” when they meet with WWII Nisei soldiers as part of their field trip, as follows:


Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Kaimuki Middle School
Session 1:  9:00-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:30-9:45 a.m.
Session 3:  10:00-10:15 a.m.
Session 4:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 5:  11:00-11:15 a.m.
Session 6:  11:30-11:45 a.m.

Thursday, April 11, 2013
Castle High School
Session 1:  10:30-10:45 a.m.
Session 2:  11:00-11:15 a.m.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 – FINAL DAY OF EXHIBIT
Kamakahelei Middle School (Big Island)

Date:  Sunday, 4/14/13:
Session 1:  9-9:15 a.m.
Session 2:  9:15-9:30 a.m

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

Herbert Yanamura, was born on 4/20/1924 in Honaunau, Kona, Hawaii

“We wanted to make the exhibit come alive for these students,” said Mona Wood-Sword, member of the organizing committee.  “Meeting these true American heroes, talking story with them, will make the exhibit that much more meaningful for them, and that was part of our mission when planning the exhibit:  To teach the next generation about the heroism of these brave soldiers.”

The teachers from the visiting schools have asked their students to prepare questions for the veterans, so the discussions should be lively and interesting for both the veterans and students.

In addition to speaking with the visiting schools, the veterans have been busy with weekly panel discussions (see attached schedule) and other appearances.  WWII veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service – all honored with the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal – have shared their stories to standing-room-only audiences at Bishop Museum’s Atherton Halau.

The final two Saturday panels will be, as follows:

April 6, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Hawaii’s Internment and Role in the Legislative Campaign for Redress
Presented by:  Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
Panelists:  Ryan Kawamoto, “The Untold Story,” Brian Niiya, Former JCCH Program Director, and William Kaneko, Attorney and Former President, Honolulu JACL
Moderator:  Carole Hayashino, President and Executive Director, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

April 6, 2013 • 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
“Okage Sama De” True Stories of Japanese Americans during WWII
Presented by:  Alton Chung, Professional Storyteller

April 13, 2013 • 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Commitment to Education
Presented by:  State of Hawaii Department of Education
Panelists:  Joan Funamura, Clayton Kaninau, May Price, and Charlotte Unni
Moderator:  Ann Mahi

American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Veterans Network, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  Accompanying educational materials were developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

The national tour of seven cities – New Orleans, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR, Chicago, and Houston – is made possible by the support of AARP, Cole Chemical, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, and Southwest Airlines.

The 100th Infantry Battalion was a unit within the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division.  Compromised mostly of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) from the Hawaii Army National Guard, the 100th Infantry Battalion also included volunteers from Japanese internment camps, which were then located throughout the United States during WWII.

Battalion members’ stature, fitness levels, and unified camaraderie during training, prior to their deployment, made the 100th Infantry Battalion a strong unit heading into combat.  With the “Remember Pearl Harbor” motto, the 100th Infantry Battalion were consistently motivated to prove their loyalty to the United States.

During their 20 month combat term in Europe, the unit became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for the number of casualties lost.  They fought in six war campaigns in Italy and France, earning the unit four Presidential Unit Citations.  http://www.100thbattalion.org/

Considered to be one of the most decorated combat units in United States military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisted of a share of enlisted soldiers, as well as volunteers who fought in Europe during WWII.  Two-thirds of their original unit were Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or Nisei, from Hawaii, while the rest were Nisei soldiers from the Mainland.

The “Go For Broke” motto means to risk everything in order to win.  Activated under the command of Colonel Charles W. Pence, the 442nd worked closely with the 100th Infantry Battalion.  Intelligent and zealous in learning their military duties, the 442nd understood patience and the importance of strategy while in combat situations.  Over 14,000 men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Their values of service, loyalty and sacrifice earned the unit over 9,000 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 560 Silver Stars.  http://www.the442.org/

The Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was a group of smaller units consisting of Nisei soldiers during WWII.  Their average unit size was between 10-20 men.  Playing a vital role in the U.S. military tactics during WWII, the MIS units used linguistic skills to gather intelligence, read captured enemy maps and documents, and conduct translations and interrogations.  MIS unit members were at heightened risk because they could be confused for enemy troops by their own U.S. military personnel.

MIS post-war work proved crucial for the transition during Japanese occupancy.  MIS servicemen provided indispensible assistance during Japanese war crime trials, in the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs), and in establishing positive relations between U.S. military forces and Japanese civilians.  Working under mostly classified orders, the MIS units did not receive the recognition other units and battalions had during and post war.

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I.  Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens.  More than 350,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren.  For more information, please call (808) 847-3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.

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