Author: Sparky Matsunaga, D Company
Puka Puka Parades, August 1950, vol. 5 no. 7
Excerpt of a testimony given by Sparky Matsunaga for some committee in favor of Hawaii becoming a State
“I am a disabled veteran of World War II, having been twice wounded in combat while serving with the 100th Infantry Battalion in Italy. When I was asked to appear before this committee, I readily consented because I was compelled by a sense of duty which I strongly feel I owe, not so much to the people in Hawaii who anxiously await a favorable report by this committee, but to those comrades of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Combat Team who today lie silently beneath mounds of earth. It is the memory of those men which has compelled me to come before you today to testify in their behalf that they might be given recognition for the supreme sacrifice which they made for us and our country.
“The record of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Combat Team has no doubt been placed before you. While fighting for the same ideals as all other Americans, every man of the 100th and 442nd was in addition fighting to prove to the world that despite his racial ancestry he was as good an American and as loyal an American as any other, and deserved the right to be called an American. That was the driving force which led them to achieve such an enviable place in American Military history. Incidents of individual soldiers of other units giving up their lives to save the lives of our men were numerous. I can say from my own experience that a Sgt. Thompson gave up his life for me. As I lay wounded in a field strewn with mines and under heavy motar[sic] fire, it was impossible for anyone to come to my aid without himself being injured. Yet, Sgt. Thompson, despite my repeated warnings against it, risked his all in an attempt to reach me. In doing so, he stepped on a mine and was blown to bits.
“Every nationally recognized organization of war veterans has gone on record as favoring immediate statehood for Hawaii. I am confident I speak for all veterans of World War II who reside in Hawaii when I say that the granting of immediate statehood to Hawaii will mean the full and final recognition of the great sacrifices we made in answer to our country’s call. I beseech you, therefore, to report H.R. 49 favorably on to the Senate floor so that we might there be granted an opportunity to plead for our just due–a single star on Old Glory which we can call our own.”
The above excerpt from Sparky’s moving testimony does not do him justice. A copy of his complete speech is available in our headquarters for those who wish to examine it more closely.