The events of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, continue to be passed on from one generation to the next. This past Dec. 7 for the first time ever, the National Park Service and Pacific Historic Parks shared the historical significance of this event with thousands of school-age children across Hawai'i with a simultaneous reading aloud program.
Children enrolled in Maui Family YMCA's A+ program at Kihei, Lihikai, Pomaika'i, and Ha'iku elementary schools heard about the real life story that recounts the unlikely friendship between the late Pearl Harbor Survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese Fighter Pilot Zenji Abe in the book entitled, "Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship." It is a story of peace and forgiveness and how these men, who were once enemies of war, overcame their hatred and fear for one another.
In 1991, as a symbol of peace and friendship, Abe gave Fiske $300 and asked him to lay two roses at the Arizona Memorial each month, one for him and one for Fiske. He also asked Fiske to play taps on his bugle after he did this. Fiske honored this request every month until he passed away in 2004.
The first time ever, statewide book reading of “Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship,” was held on Friday, Dec. 7, the 71st anniversary of the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The book recounts a true-life story of Pearl Harbor survivor Richard Fiske and Japanese diver-bomb pilot Zenji Abe and their lifelong friendship following the bombing.
Photo: Maureen Monte
"This was a great opportunity for our youth to hear about this historical event and how these memories still touch our lives today," said Jason Justus, Maui Family YMCA senior program director. "Through this book, our students also gained a better understanding of how enemies can become friends and share a common goal to bringing peace to future generations."
For the students who heard the story of Fiske and Zenji, there were also lessons learned.
"You shouldn't hate someone for things that happened in the past," said Sofia Andaluz of Kihei Elementary.
"War makes people sad, war shouldn't happen so much," said Jasiel Kaleo of the same school.
"Pearl Harbor Warriors: The Bugler, The Pilot, The Friendship" is a children's book written by Pearl Harbor civilian survivor and author Dorinda Nicholson.