A Belated Happy New Year to You and Your Families
My brother, Mark, was talking to me recently about the moving and memorable words on the Honor Roll plaque by the entrance at Minidoka:
“For our Tomorrow, They Gave their Today.”
As you may know, variations of this are inscribed on other memorial sites. He said that he was immediately reminded of the epitaph from WWI attributed to the British Classicist John Maxwell Edmonds:
“When You Go Home, Tell Them of Us and Say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.”
One hallowed place where this verse can be read is in the Kohima War Cemetery in remote northeast India. It is a tribute to fallen British and Indian soldiers in a key battle that stopped the Japanese invasion of India during World War Two. The memorial is on the exact site where they perished.
My brother went on to say that this verse seems to have been inspired by the epitaph written by the ancient Greek poet Simonides of Ceos to honor the Greeks who fell at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC (i.e. The Three Hundred Spartans):
“Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie.”
Noting the common thread of sacrifice and remembrance throughout the centuries, I told my brother about a memorial behind Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. The Garden of Remembrance is a memorial to the Washington state soldiers who have died since World War Two. In the memorial is part of the well-known poem by Lawrence Binyon. You will recognize it:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
There is much tradition of honor preserved and carried to us by the printed word. So, let me pivot to acknowledge some of those associated with bringing to us the printed words of remembrance – in this very newsletter that you are reading. Every month, Stanley Shikuma (News/ Story editor), G.Page Tanagi (Graphics Editor), Ken Hiraiwa (Graphic Designer), Paul Murakami and his loyal mailing crew of Thom Ikeda, Beverly Ikeda, Bruce Inaba, Karlyne Iwata, Shizu Kaku, Debbie Kashino, Rei Matsumoto, John Riess, Mike Yano, Kathy Lee (Circulation), NVC Commander Mike Yaguchi (Editor), and Karen Shimizu (Webmaster) work nimbly under time pressure to turn out every monthly newsletter. It’s quite a feat, and their own sacrifice of time and energy should be applauded.