Last week, my wife – Elizabeth – and I were invited to eat dinner at a friend’s house along with another couple from church. During the evening, the topic of the Japanese Internment during World War II came up as one of the invitees who grew up in Japan (her parents were missionaries) asked me about it. While I am Japanese-American, I rarely think about the fact that I am.
My parents, on the other hand, most likely – always thought about it.
In any case, I just got this e-mail that I’d like to pass along:
Letter from Janet and Susan Hardwick
“KODOMO NO TAME NI” – “For The Children”
The Honorable Barbara Boxer 112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington , DC 20510 Dear Senator Boxer, In the winter of 1944, our father, Sgt. William Hardwick, was fighting in WW II in Eastern France. After fighting and slogging through the French countryside, he found himself in the vast foothills of the Vosges Mountains. His unit would be ordered to follow the fleeing Germans into the Vosges and "chase them all the way back to Germany" --- the officers commanding his unit would argue, unsuccessfully, that without waiting for the rest of the Battalion would mean that they would most certainly be cut-off ---- their concerns brushed aside, the men entered the Vosges, and they were, as predicted, cut-off. Despite being low on ammo, rations and supplies, "The Lost Battalion" successfully repelled each assault made by German soldiers who were tasked to carry -out Hitler's personal orders: "Take No Prisoners." They would observe over the next few days as unit after unit of American soldiers would try to rescue them, none successful. Our father would later talk about how suddenly, from out of nowhere, he could see and hear fierce fighting. He could catch glimpses of men battling to reach him ---- after hours and hours and days and days of indescribably vicious combat, some of it hand-to-hand, these amazing rescuers stepped across the thresh-hold of his perimeter ----- and finally the over-powering realization that his certain death had been averted by these incredibly courageous men ----- the men of the 442nd "Go For Broke" RCT. The "Little Iron Men" had done what no-one else could do --- they had successfully rescued "The Lost Battalion" --- our father and 210 other men. Their personal sacrifices were amazing in their depth and totality. Three years ago, my sister and I began a journey to find and thank these amazing men for the gift of our father's safe return, the enormity of which is still difficult to put into words. Along our way, we have learned that the rescue of the "Lost Battalion" is but one accomplishment of these incredible men, as evidenced by the medals they wear: out of a group of roughly 10,000 men, they wear over 4000 Purple Hearts; 4,000 Bronze Stars (1200 with Oak Leaf Clusters); 15 Soldiers Medals; 22 Legions of Merit; 560 Silver Stars (28 with Oak Leaf Clusters); 29 Distinguished Service Crosses; and 21 MEDALS OF HONOR. They served in combat units, MIS, engineers --- what ever was asked of them, they successfully undertook without complaint and with dedication and loyalty. To a man, they will tell you without hesitation that they wear their medals in honor of those who "gave the ultimate sacrifice" --- their friends, their brothers, their fellow soldiers. They did not ask for money ---- they did not ask for glory ---- they did not ask for hand-outs ----- all they asked for was the right to prove their loyalty ---- to be regarded as faithful and trustworthy American citizens ---- all this while many of their family members were interned in camps across this country ----- their country. Upon their return home, they went about the business of trying to recover their families from these camps, rebuilding businesses and homes, and serving their communities with the same loyal service that had hallmarked their duty in the military. They became doctors, lawyers, engineers, civil servants, farmers, gardeners, college professors and politicians. To this day, they speak of those defining days without a hint of bitterness or bodacious bragging ---- they simply say: "we were given a job to do and we did it." ----- humble ---- kind---- loyal. The Senate is considering a bill ------ S-1055----- that would give the men of the 100th and 442nd RCT the Congressional Gold Medal. It is with great urgency that I ask you to please support this effort ---- for I can think of no other men who deserve it more than these Gentle Giants. I would never have known my father, but for them ---- my children would never have known their grandfather, but for them --- their own children would not have been able to walk our streets with dignity and resolve, but for them. They set about to prove their loyalty to this country and, in so doing, saved the lives of hundreds of men, liberated countless villages throughout France and Italy leaving their inhabitants with renewed love and respect for the American Soldier,and brought honor to this country, themselves, and their families. Their lessons in loyalty, humbleness, courage and resolve still resonate in our society today. It is a vote that you will be proud to make for them ---- for us all. It is, after all, the right thing to do. Thank you for your kind attention, Janet Hardwick Brown Pinehurst, North CarolinaSusan Hardwick Martinsville, Indiana Proud Daughters of Sgt. William Hardwick 36th Division, 141st Regiment 1st Battalion, Company "B" - "THE LOST BATTALION"Advertisements