Memorial Day Salute

At Arlington National Cemetery’s Columbarium Courtyard, the JACL DC Chapter and the Japanese American Veterans  Association joined forces at a Memorial Day observance May 27. Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake, U.S. Army/JAG Corp, offered a moving tribute to the history of Japanese Americans who have served in the U.S. military – including her uncle, who served in the 442ndin World War II. To a standing-room-only crowd, students Kendall Griffith and Lauren Penn from Maryland’s Spark Matsunaga Elementary School spoke of the genuine superheroes in the military who “defeat real enemies while making our country very proud.” After the playing of taps, flowers were laid at the gravesites of Japanese Americans interred at Arlington.

(Photos by Miya Hiraoka Sluchansky)



1. JAVA President Gerald Yamada, Executive Director Terry Shima, and Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake address the Memorial Day crowd.

2. Students from Spark Matsunaga Elementary honor members of the military as today’s “real superheroes.”

3. Lt. Col. Kay Wakatake salutes the proud history of Japanese American military service in her keynote address

4. The Memorial Day observance concluded with the playing of Taps.

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