Exhibit honoring WWII Nisei veterans unveiled at Honolulu airport

From left to right: Former Gov. George Ariyoshi, Kenji Ego, Herbert Yanamura, and Robert Kishinami (Photo: Department of Transportation)

The Honolulu International Airport celebrated a new addition Friday that honors WWII Nisei veterans.

A permanent exhibit produced by volunteers from the non-profit organization Nisei Veterans Legacy was unveiled and blessed in the makai end of the Interisland Terminal, near gate 56.

“The Japanese American soldiers fought two battles during the war: the Axis enemies in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific and domestic racism and suspicion at home,” said Wes Deguchi, Nisei Veterans Legacy president. “This exhibit will expose millions of travelers, not only from our country but overseas as well, to the heroism and achievements of these veterans. Very few of them are still with us to tell their stories in their own words, so it was our goal that this exhibit and the work of the NVL tell of their sacrifices for Hawaii, our nation, and the world. We’re very grateful to the Hawaii Department of Transportation for this opportunity and to our volunteers for their time and creativity.”

“Through this exhibit, millions of people who pass through Honolulu International Airport each year will have the opportunity to learn more about the heroism and service of Japanese American World War II veterans, who bravely fought for the United States even as their loyalty was questioned at home,” said U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D, Hawaii.

Nisei stands for second generation and represents American citizens born in the United States whose parents immigrated from Japan.

Funding for the exhibit was provided in part by a grant from the Hawaii State Legislature for the construction of the display cabinet.

The contents were produced or donated by NVL, which was created to preserve and perpetuate the legacy of the Americans of Japanese Ancestry who served in the United States armed forces during World War II, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.

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