Hawaii has several memorials honoring war vets. The Nisei Veterans Memorial on Maui is one of them, guided by the values – and valor – of Japanese-American veterans who fought in World War II.

Nisei are persons born in the United States or Canada whose parents immigrated to Japan. Most of the fallen nisei had ties to Maui, serving in Europe on either the 100th Infantry Battalion or the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Veterans of the 100th and 442nd gather outside of the Maui memorial center.

While most memorial centers are filled with marble and statuary, the Nisei Veterans Memorial chose to instead fill its center with the wonders of life itself through an innovative intergenerational center. The center puts a preschool and adult day care together under one roof, allowing the young and the old to interact on a daily basis.

Tourists can experience this appreciation for life through the new Education Center. It opens on April 13, 2013 and will be the “heart and soul of the memorial,” according to the website. It will house the Nisei Veterans Archives, an extensive collection of books, oral histories and unique family albums.

Outside of the living memorial, there’s a bronze plaque displaying the names of the soldiers who served in the nisei units. It’s similar to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., known as The Wall. The memorial has 58,000 names, including about 270 from Hawaii.

Photo Courtesy: Nisei Veterans Memorial Center Facebook Fan Page

NISEI VETERANS MEMORIAL CENTER • Overlooking Kahului Harbor, just as Kahului Beach Road becomes Lower Main Street • 808-244-6862 • www.nvmc.org

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