Hershey Miyamura (seated) and other veterans enter during ceremonies for the groundbreaking of the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, Texas.

By PEGGY MIZUMOTO

The stars came together when Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura traveled to attend the March 25 groundbreaking ceremony for the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, Texas.

Link to full ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGcb6hPzr4A

Hershey joined 14 other Medal of Honor (MOH) recipients at this event. Sixty-six are alive today. The MOH heroes who were present served with incredible valor in Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea and Iwo Jima.

On Nov. 15, 1990, President George H. W. Bush signed into law the National Medal of Honor Day, March 25. This made it most meaningful to have President George W. Bush and Mrs. Bush present for this historic groundbreaking event.

For a bit of background, this link is to a dramatization of part of Hershey’s Korean War experience:

This link is to a video record of some of Hershey’s own remembrances:

On this trip west, to our great delight, Hershey spent time in California with family and friends, including his close friend, Vietnam veteran Ken Hayashi. We enjoyed a memorable afternoon reconnecting, laughing and reminiscing. To describe it as special is quite the understatement.

Thanks to Mike and Marianne Miyamura, who assisted in connecting friends with Hershey via Zoom meetings. They included Lynn and Mike Mori (fathers – H Company Yukio Sakata and MIS Isamu “Sam” Mori), Susan and Scott Takahashi (father – C Company Masao “Mas” Takahashi), Leslie Sakato (father – E Company George Taro “Joe” Sakato, also a MOH recipient), and A Company veterans Ikuro “Mano” Kawahara with daughter Gigi McPhee, Don S. Miyada and Tokuji “Toke” Yoshihashi.

Hershey Miyamura with former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, Marianne and Mike Miyamura.
 
Miyamura received the Medal of Honor from President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953.

Some may know that Hershey also served in the 100th Battalion at the end of WWII, prior to his heroic service in the Korean War. Hershey was held back from going overseas with the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team initially due to not meeting the age requirement. Before being assigned to D Company, Hershey was actually in A Company, as were Mano, Don and Toke. As a result of knowing this special coincidence, it was a hope and priority to connect these four patriots, if at all possible, while Hershey was in California.

Over a couple online meetings, Hershey, Mano, Don and Toke were able to video-chat and ask each other questions about training, going overseas, locations and times of their combat service and return, officers, medics and comrades. When Hershey described returning with the ”442 colors,” Don and Toke said they were on the same ship. (On a side note, Hershey believes it likely that he was in Lecco, Italy, when my dad, Robert Katsumi Mizumoto, C Company, was there.)

It is my special honor to call these men my friends. These modest combat veterans are so generous with sharing some of their challenging and heartbreaking wartime memories as well as being role models for patriotism, duty, courage, respect for chain of command and love of country.  

Photos from ceremony courtesy of Mike Miyamura

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