Shizuya Hayashi, local recipient of Medal of Honor, dies
|Photo gallery: Shizuya Hayashi Remembered|
Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2000 during a ceremony on the White House lawn, died Wednesday morning.
He was 90 years old.
Hayashi, of Pearl City, charged up a hill toward German positions on Nov. 29, 1943, and killed 20 enemy soldiers and captured four near Cerasuolo, Italy.
On June 22, 2000, President Clinton awarded the nation's highest military award for valor to Hayashi and 21 other Asian-American veterans of World War II, most of them from Hawai'i.
The seven surviving veterans, including Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawai`i, accepted the medals from Clinton, while families of the others received the medals in their memory.
Today, Inouye and Sen. Daniel Akaka mourned Hayashi's loss.
"I was saddened to learn of the passing of Shizuya Hayashi, a fellow nisei soldier, and I extend my condolences to the entire Hayashi family," Inouye said. "I remember Shizuya sat next to me during the White House ceremony when President Clinton presented us and about 20 others with the Medal of Honor. It was a humbling experience, and it was made more touching and meaningful when I learned that Shizuya also shared my sentiment: that we were accepting this special honor on behalf of the men with whom we served, and especially those who did return home when the war ended.
"Shizuya Hayashi will always exemplify the legacy of the nisei soldiers: determined defenders committed to serving our country with honor — even when many of our own countrymen at that time doubted our patriotism and our willingness to serve in harm's way."
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawai'i, learned of Hayashi's death from Hayashi's daughter, Mimi Nakano, on Thursday.
"Mr. Hayashi's passing reminds us of the impact nisei veterans had on the history of our state and our country," Akaka said. "It was a time when our country was sending Americans to concentration camps just because they were Japanese. The valor and heroism of young soldiers like Shizuya Hayashi stood in stark contrast to what was happening at home."