Joint service will remember sacrifices of nisei soldiers of WWII

The annual joint memorial service of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team veterans will be held at 2 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Kahului.

The public is invited to attend this service to remember the sacrifices of the nisei soldiers of World War II.

The memorial center is on Go For Broke Place, off Kahului Beach Road. The service will be in the Oceanview Maui Adult Day Care Center of the campus.

The service is held each year on the Sunday closest to Sept. 29, the day in 1943 when Sgt. Shigeo “Joe” Takata died in Italy — the first 100th Battalion soldier to be killed in action.

Maui veterans of the 100th Battalion held their first service after returning from World War II. The 442nd veterans joined the Valley Isle observance in 2003.

Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans have sponsored and organized the service for several years.

The guest speaker will be the Rev. Kerry Kiyohara of Makawao Hongwanji Mission.

He will discuss Buddhist perspectives on why we must never forget our debt of obligation to the Maui veterans for their service and sacrifice, and the lessons to be learned from their valor and courage.

The annual service includes the reading of names of the 100th and 442nd soldiers who were killed in action, as well as the names of their comrades who died since the previous year’s joint memorial service.

Master of ceremonies will be Deidre Tegarden, executive director of the NVMC.

Both the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat team were composed mostly of Americans of Japanese ancestry who served in Europe during World War II. Most were nisei, or the second generation of Japanese in America.

The 100th pioneered the path for Japanese-Americans to serve their country en masse during the war and in a time when their loyalty was questioned.

It became the first battalion of the 442nd when the regiment went to Europe in 1943.

The nisei soldier story also includes those who served in the Military Intelligence Service in Asia and the Pacific and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, which was stationed on Oahu and completed 54 defense-related projects during World War II.