To Lorrin P. Thurston
The Honolulu Advertiser
Thank you very much for your editorial letter in tribute to the
men buried in Punchbowl, and especially to the men of the 442nd
Combat Team killed in battle.
As I read the letter, my mind went back 14 years to those
terrifying days in Italy.
I thought of a young soldier who came to me one day and said,
“Chaplain, my brother was killed in the last battle. Could you
take me to his grave so that we may say a prayer for him?” These
two brothers were the only sons in the family, and they were very
close. At the first opportunity, I picked up this boy from his
company area for the 50 mile drive to the American cemetery in
Somewhere in the desolate countryside, he had found a pot of
geraniums which he cradled very carefully in his arms for the
At the cemetery, I watched as he placed the flowers on the
Grave…then turning to me he said, “Chaplain, please give a
prayer for my bud.” So we knelt, he on one side and I on the
other…two lonely figures in the quiet cemetery.
This incident lingers in my memory because, a few days later,
I was called to bring in his torn body from the field of battle.
That day was a sad one for me, my faith was shaken to the core
and I kept repeating to myself, “O God, why?”
And I thought of a young man from California. He also had a
brother fighting in the Pacific. This young man was a sergeant
and one of the most decorated soldiers in his company. We used
to call him “Sad Sack” because he always seems to have something
on his mind.
One day a hand grenade blew up in his face and we brought back
his body from the front. A few days after he was killed, we found
out that some vandals in the name of patriotism had burned his
home to the ground and left his aged parents homeless.
I know that others have won higher decorations than this young man… but for loyalty and devotion to his country and to his ideals, no medal would have been high enough.
To know that his parents and family were being kicked from pillar to
post by some misguided patriots but still willingly volunteering for
every hazardous patrol even to his death…it left me very humble.
I realize that there were many things involved in the reason for
men volunteering at that time. Not only to prove our Americanism,
but because we all hated dictatorship and all the ideals Hitler and
Tojo stood for. However, your letter started my day with a warmer
feeling to know that my boys were given the recognition they deserved,
As former chaplain of these men, and one who loves them very much
… thank you for your tribute.
Rev. Hiro Higuchi
Pearl City Community Church
(From the Honolulu Advertiser, July 4, 1959.)