Reaching out to World War II veterans

This year, May 18th and 19th are very important days for me. Let me explain briefly about each.

May 18: I’m speaking at Bloomfield Township Senior Services

Address: 4200 Telegraph Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

The third Saturday of May is Armed Forces Day.  I’m excited about being able to speak, honoring World war II veterans, right here in our hometown.

Having lived in Japan for the first 23 years of my life, I know how my parents’ generation felt about America. Then having lived the next almost 41 years of my adult life in the United States, I also know how little is known about the profound sense of gratitude most Japanese felt toward America after World War II.

Perhaps due to the vast language and cultural differences, few, if any, native Japanese have ever spoken about it publicly in this country. So, I decided to step up to the plate and express my parents’ gratitude – before it’s too late.

Chances are that you will hear the other side of the story that you have never heard before. I hope to see you there. If you know of any World War II veterans, especially those who may have fought in the Pacific Theater and/or their family members, please invite them. It would be an honor for me to be able to personally thank them.  Here is a copy of the announcement made by Bloomfield Township Senior Services:

 

    • Post World War II: A Japanese Story
    • Saturday, May 18 10-11 AM
    • $0/resident; $2/non-resident

This special presentation is given by Reiko McKendry, born in Japan in 1949. Hear how she and other Japanese citizens developed a profound sense of gratitude toward the United States for bringing food, peace, and democracy to post-WWII Japan. Preregistration required. To register online click here or call 248-723-3500.

May 19: I’m there in spirit at VFW 511

Address: 41 Veterans Drive, New Britain, Connecticut

The Fourth Annual Iwo Jima Survivors’ Victory Ride is held on that day. If I could attend this event, my odds of being able to meet those who fought in the Pacific Theater would increase dramatically. It is one of those events that I sincerely wish I could be there in person. Each year’s opportunity missed results in fewer number of veterans that I am able to thank personally. So, I’m highly motivated to succeed in our investment activities – so that I can resume making donations to causes that I believed in, such as the maintenance of the National Iwo Jima Memorial on Ella Grasso Boulevard, near the New Britain/Newington town line in Connecticut.

Goody-bag contents for WWII veterans

A goodie bag and contents by various individuals and organizations for WWII veterans.
Photo courtesy of Marianne Mihalyo and Gary Roy.

As to the outcome of our current investments, only time will tell. So, for this year, I had to resort to sending some small token of appreciation in the form of thank-you cards that I personally handwrote, together with some promotional bookmarks and bags for my autobiography, “To America – With Profound Gratitude: My Journey to Freedom and Independence.”

I thank Marianne Mihalyo and Gary Roy, volunteers of this organization, who reached out to me. They work tirelessly, organizing fund-raising events to keep the Memorial site well maintained.  Their website is www.SOSIwoJima.com.  I hope to be able to meet Marianne and Gary in person sometime in the near future.

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