ABC7 news anchor/reporter David Ono introduces Robert Oligeri (second from right), who is holding an Army helmet believed to have been worn by Stanley Hayami, at the sold-out performance of “Defining Courage” on Oct. 1 at the Aratani Theatre. Oligeri’s uncle discovered the helmet worn by Hayami, who was killed on April 23, 1944 while trying to help a wounded soldier in the town of San Terenzo Monti in Italy.
“Defining Courage,” produced by Ono and Jeff McIntyre, highlighted the stories of Japanese American soldiers in Europe and the Pacific in an immersive mix of documentary footage and live narration and music. Ono visited the sites of World War II battles and interviewed locals who remembered them, or their descendants.
Tamlyn Tomita emceed and Erika Moritsugu, deputy assistant to President Biden and Asian American and Pacific Islander senior liaison, and Chad Matthews, president of ABC Owned Television Stations, gave introductory remarks. Special guests included Consul General Kenko Sone, former Rep. Mike Honda and Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong, superintendent of Hono`uli`uli National Historic Site.
At the conclusion, veterans Shigeto Hayashi (442nd Regimental Combat Team), Ralph Matsumoto (Military Intelligence Service), Yosh Nakamura (442nd) and Edward Nakamura (MIS) were recognized on stage with a standing ovation.
GWEN MURANAKA/Rafu Shimpo