Rosslyn, VA – Three Medal of Honor recipients, six cadets representing armed forces academies, four flag rank officers and six World War II veterans were recognized in a special Japanese American Veterans Association luncheon in the packed private room at the China Garden Restaurant in Rosslyn, Virginia on April 14, 2009. President Bob Nakamoto said, “The WW II Nisei generation settled the question of loyalty once and for all and the armed forces subsequently offered unlimited opportunities to compete for any position and rank. Seventy-seven Asian Americans, 37 of whom are Japanese Americans, have attained flag rank and four of them are represented here today. They have demonstrated they can compete with the best of the best. The cadets represent our new generation of Asian American future leaders in the armed forces of America and they are challenged by unlimited opportunities.” Nakamoto presented each Medal of Honor recipient and each cadet with an inscribed Commemorative JAVA coin.
Medal of Honor recipients George Joe Sakato, Barney Hajiro (represented by his son, Glenn of Honolulu, Hawaii) and Hershey Miyamura, as well as Dr. Harry Abe of New York City, Kelly Kuwayama, Grant Ichikawa, Grant Hirabayashi, Stanley Sagara and Terry Shima represented the WW II generation Nisei veterans. The flag rank officers were represented by Lieutenant General Joe Peterson, USA, Deputy Commanding General of US Army Forces Command; Vice Admiral Harry B. Harris, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Communications; Major General Tony Taguba, USA (Ret) and Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Director for Combating Terrorism at the White House National Security Council.
The US Military Academy at West Point was represented by Cadet Lieutenant Ashian Midori Izadi of Arcadia, California; Cadet Captain Jenna Suenaga Lafferty of Redlands, California; and Cadet Lieutenant Terikazu David Onoda of Irvington, New York. The US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland was represented by Midshipman First Class Macedonius Melonas of Orem, Utah and Midshipman First Class Karl Motoyama of Honolulu, Hawaii. The Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado was represented by Cadet Captain Marisa Miyamura, granddaughter of Hershey and Terry Miyamura.
The above honorees attended the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation Awards Dinner Gala during the previous evening at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. Their participation in the JAVA luncheon was inspired and arranged by Eric Nishizawa, Esq., a life member of JAVA.
After the program, Kimi Murakami, Esq., daughter of two internees, Dr. Ray Murakami, Board member of the NJAMF, and Mrs. Mary Murakami, an active speaker about internment at area high schools, said “viewing these past and present heroes and the next generation of Japanese American military leaders – standing together – was an awesome experience. I believe the young midshipmen and cadets gained strength and were inspired by meeting their courageous and patriotic ancestors that have fought and defended our country before them.”