You are likely to find me in one of two places on Memorial Day. Either way I will be honoring my father and his service to his country in the United States Military during World War II.
Sam Y. Matsumoto
In odd number years you will find me at the Nisei War Memorial at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver, Colorado singing with the choir for the annual Memorial Day service.
The Memorial is engraved with the names of Japanese American Nisei veterans from the Rocky Mountain region who served in the United States Armed Forces and who are now at rest.
In even number years you will find me at the Bolder Boulder, an annual Memorial Day 10K honoring United States military. This is a run, jog or walk race.
About 50,000 people participate every year.
The race finishes in Folsum Field in Boulder, Colorado. As you complete the race you enter the stadium where those who completed the race before you and other supporters cheer you over the finish line!
Many participants wear a bib on their back with the name of the person they want to honor.
Next year is the 40th anniversary. Yes, I have been running since the beginning but those 40 year old race t-shirts are long gone.
I am grateful for my country and the freedoms granted to its citizens which are protected by brave men and women like my dad.
A friend invited me to join her at the one night showing of George Takei’s Broadway Musical on the Big Screen, Allegiance. The theater here in Denver was packed and sold out.
Based on the experiences of George Takei and his family’s internment in a concentration camp when he was 5 years old. 120,000 Japanese-Americans were forced to leave their homes and imprisoned in these camps after Pearl Harbor. Watching this production was a sobering experience. I kept imagining my parents living through this.
My parents shared little of their experiences as a United States Army soldier and his wife who was imprisoned even though she was married to a soldier. What they did share I now realize was pretty sugar coated.
As we were leaving the theater another attendee, a Caucasian woman, turned to me with a pained expression. She said that she never learned about this in school and was unaware that this even happened until she met and heard about the camps from a Japanese family.
Ditto. An important part of history that I may only know about because my parents actually lived through it!
This book was rescued from the thrift store. It has brought back memories of the stories my Mom used to tell about her family losing everything. Possessions and farm. And her journey to and life in an internment camp. My friend Masami Nonaka has also shared his memories of camp as a small child here.
The main character is Henry and I just realized that one of the main characters in this crazy Netflix series I am watching is also named Henry. Coincidence? I think not. I have been looking at litters of rescue puppies and have a feeling I found my puppy name!
This is a picture from the book. Each family was assigned a number and each member of the family wore a tag until they reached the internment camp.