To Lorrin P. Thurston

To Lorrin P. Thurston

President-General Manager

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

Fallonica, Italy.

Somewhere in the desolate countryside, he had found a pot of

geraniums which he cradled very carefully in his arms for the

long ride.

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.)