Members of the 80th-anniversary committee for the 100th Infantry Battalion visited the homes of survivors of the decorated World War II unit Sunday, reported Hawaii News Now.
There are just a dozen known survivors of the Japanese American decorated war unit.
“You were dubbed the Purple Heart battalion. And you’re known worldwide for the selfless sacrifice, because you protected your teammates. And you protected their our country, you fought for our freedom,” said Kathi Hayashi, an organizer with the 80th-anniversary committee and daughter of one of those veterans.
President Biden also issued a proclamation Sunday recognizing the day.
“From the president.. oh I never thought!” said 98-year-old Takashi Manago, one of the veterans recognized. “It hits you right here. I feel overwhelmed with all this. I don’t deserve this really.”
Most members of the battalion were from Hawaii.
“Hawai‘i has some of the greatest homegrown heroes. The freedoms we enjoy in Hawai‘i today can be traced in part to the values that drove the decisions and actions of these soldiers and veterans 80 years ago,” Janice Sakoda, one of the organizers, said to Maui Now. “Hawai‘i was different in the mid-1940s after the war. Many Hawai‘i residents may not realize that we are all beneficiaries of their trailblazing work to create more equity in our community.”
Known as One-Puka-Puka, they were initially deployed to Italy in September 1943. They braved mine fields and suffered an abnormally high number of casualties.
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