Japanese-American soldiers remembered at Roeding Park

FRESNO, Calif.

On Monday, a three volley salute followed the reading of dozens of soldiers names, as friends and family laid wreaths at the base of the Japanese-American War Memorial in Roeding Park.

"It's very special," said Helen Shirakawa.

Shirakawa came to honor her brother who was killed in France in 1942. His name is etched in stone as part of the Nisei War Memorial there. She'd like for younger generations to understand the significance of that and to remember the sacrifices of their elders.

"Many of them don't realize what went on especially with the Japanese Americans," she said.

Organizers are working to change that.

It's a matter of education and I think we're getting there," said Takeuchi.

Takeuchi said he's working with Valley teachers to educate students about the contributions of Japanese-Americans. On Monday he invited several boy and girl scout troops to attend the event and called in the color guard from Hanford West High School to encourage participation.

"This is our 61st year, believe it or not, and with the younger crop coming up I'm sure this is going to go on for many many years," he said.

It's his way of ensuring this Memorial Day tradition continues and our Valley's heroes are forever honored, forever mourned.

"Oh, it's wonderful they're learning what went on before, the generations before," said Shirakawa.

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