Author: Dick Oguro, B Company
Puka Puka Parades, July 1960, vol. 13 no. 7
This article reviews President Eisenhower visit at a ceremony at the Honolulu International Airport. The article reviews his speech about Hawaii’s statehood with mention of the 100th and 442nd.
It was a proud and memorable moment that early afternoon of Monday, June 21st, when President Eisenhower stepped out of his military jet transport plane to return to American soil after his Far East tour, to be greeted by all Hawaii with a great, big ALOHA! in appreciation for all that he has done for Hawaii, and in appreciation of his untiring efforts towards maintaining peace.
The splendor of the ceremony at Honolulu International Airport will be with us for a long time to come. And the occasion will remain forever as a proud and memorable moment for specific groups and individuals…for the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team for the recognition accorded these two units by the President in his speech at the airport..for Lt. Col. Edward M. Yoshimasu (Dog Chapter) who was the commander of the honor guard at the airport, and with whom the president had quite a chat while reviewing the honor guard…for Jenei Tokujo (Charlie Chapter) whose 9-year old daughter Annette, acting as the spokesman for the six school children in presenting the President with the Pennies for Peace, literally stole the show at the airport.
To recap part of the luster of the occasion, we reprint here Annette Tokujo’s message of Aloha to the President. Listen to Annette as she speaks, her voice loud and distinct and clear, this message of Aloha to delight the hearts of all:
Mr. President, Welcome to Hawaii. There are 141,000 public school children in our State and the six of us here today are speaking for them. When we read that you were coming to visit us, we wanted to let you know how proud we are of you and of our country.
So all 141,000 of us gave a penny each to help the East-West Center, because we believe that all children and grownup people, too, want to live in peace.
We would like for you to have this little bag with a few of the 141,000 Pennies for Peace. And when the Center is ready, we hope you will come back and see it.
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER…the 100th and the 442nd!
The President’s speech at the airport
Governor Quinn, Admiral Felt and all members of the Armed Services here in Hawaii and my friends: It is a signal privilege that is mine to land here on this beautiful island for the first time since it has been a State.
As your Governor had said, this is something that has been on my heart for a long time and more particularly since 1942. In my theater in Europe was sent the first Japanese-American unit – the 100th Battalion which covered itself with glory in a number of hard-fought fields. Then came the 442nd and apparently the desire to enlist was so great that it was an over-strength regiment. Every man seemed to be anxious to prove not only his loyalty to his adopted country, to America, but his readiness to die for the principles that that country stands for. To both those units and particularly to every man here who was ever a part of those two units, I send my warmest and affectionate greetings and render them the salute to brave men.
Hawaii, I think, should long have been a state for another reason. Here, we have a true example of men living together in human dignity, men of every race and creed, that can possibly exist on this earth. They have lived so together to their mutual benefit, their mutual profit, and their mutual satisfaction and possibly even deeper than that, to their mutual self respect.
I cannot tell you what good I believe can come out of the effort or the activity that will go on here in Hawaii where it will act as really the meeting place of the Western and Eastern hemispheres in the Pacific. I understand the East-West Center is really getting off the ground and going. I can’t imagine anything better than for us to use this place. By this I mean Hawaii using this opportunity in this area to bring about a better feeling between the peoples bordering the Pacific all the way around so that among us we may live in greater strength, in greater cooperation, and in mutual harmony.
So it is truly an eventful day for me. I thank the members of the Honor Guard for coming out, and each citizen for doing me the courtesy of coming out here today in order that I might greet them. Thank you very much.