The memorial service for Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) began in 1992 when Northern California E Company veterans of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team planted a redwood tree in Oakland Hills in honor and memory of their buddies who never came home. The service this year on May 16 would have marked the 28th year of continuous event always held on Armed Forces Day. It evolved into honoring veterans of all wars and their spouses. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus concerns, the memorial service 2020 and the picnic following the service had to be canceled. Roberts Park where that planted redwood tree continues to mature was closed.
As the memorial service day approached, however, the FFNV leadership felt that it didn’t seem right to just skip it. After all, those veterans to whom we wanted to pay tribute never withdrew or retreated on battlefields. We, therefore, decided to propose an idea to the Roberts Park staff to allow FFNV to hold a small, private service. They enthusiastically supported our proposal by offering to allow special entry into the park just for us and to even help us set up for the service. And they did so splendidly allowing our modified memorial service to take place. This year, however, there was no patriotic music coming from the band, no scouts to perform military honors, no minister to offer prayers, or not even inspiring speakers to motivate attendees. Instead, we had just one representative to offer incense and to express words of appreciation on behalf of all those who could not attend. But it was meaningful. It was satisfying to know that FFNV’s tradition to continuously honor veterans and their spouses was preserved. It was almost as if all grown and majestic redwood trees surrounding the service site with the 442 memorial redwood tree at the center were cheering for this unique one-person memorial event. We think they were.
If you wish more information about the memorial service or FFNV, please contact Brian Shiroyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ffnv.org.