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Archive for the ‘America Salutes’ Category

Hawai’i Herald is publishing the following:

There’s a piece of unfinished business in my memory that I want to share with the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans on behalf of a stranger in Germany.

When I visited Germany years ago, an old woman looked at me and began to weep. She reached out her hand to me. When I went to her, she took my hand, kissed it and began to speak in German, tears rolling down her face. Her grandson explained that I reminded her of the Hawai‘i soldiers who were so kind to her during World War II. Was I from Hawai‘i? Yes, I told her, and I know those soldiers.

For the first time in my life since Pearl Harbor, my face was greeted with tears of joy because of the 100th/442nd soldiers.

As a result, in my forthcoming poetry book, I included the following poem to honor the Japanese American soldiers who are still remembered and honored for their humanity while many of their families were in internment camps back home.

 

HAMBURG, GERMANY

In the Philippines,

World War II follows me into the night.

“Stay indoors after dark, people still remember

Japanese soldiers on Corregidor.”

 

My sixth-grade student writes in his journal

“December 7: I hate the Japs. I wish they were all dead.

My grandfather told me about them.”

 

In Hamburg, a woman, lined with age

Holds my hand and weeps to me in German.

I remind her of soldiers from Hawaii.

She has not forgotten their kindness long ago.

 

Our tears taste the same

In German and in English.

We are the only ones standing

In the aftermath of wars.

 

  • From: “Dangerous Woman: Poetry for the Ageless”

by Frances H. Kakugawa

 

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A Salute to Patrick at Punchbowl Cemetery

(A Military Burial)

 

The soldiers stood cemented to the grassy ground

Like statues, while Buddhist sutras filled the air.

Movement would dishonor the man who once stood

In his uniform, like his comrades today.

 

The three – gun salute, the wailing taps,

The precision of the folding of the flag,

A salute purified by white gloves

For the presentation of the symbolic flag.

 

Each step of ultimate precision, a tribute to dignity,

Honor and respect for the fallen soldier,

From the country whom he had served

With love, dignity and honor.

 

Whatever Alzheimer’s had stolen from him,

All was returned to him today.

Whatever memories, forgotten,

The country that he loved, remembered.

 

A final rest in peace.

 

Frances H. Kakugawa

This is what a country should do  to people who have served her.

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