Seventy five years ago, some of Hawaii’s Nisei soldiers fought to free a tiny village in France. Today thousands, including the family members of those soldiers, gathered to honor them. 

On this day in Bruyères, the message is one of gratitude. Nisei descendants from Hawaii and the mainland are here to give thanks and to receive it, from villages freed from Nazi occupation 75 years ago. 

Nora Debievre: “You just cannot underestimate the role that the allied soldiers played here because this region has a very long history of warfare, but the second World War of course was particularly harsh in this area, and it’s often forgotten that the casualty number here actually ran up higher than Normandy.”

Congressman Ed Case: “They came home, they went on with their lives and they mostly put that up on the shelf. So to be here and to read Audrey’s uncle’s war memoirs, talking about fighting in that hill probably right over there and on this spot is irreplacable.”

Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell: “People from Hawaii and people from France celebrating what it means to fight for peace. I just feel honored as the mayor of Honolulu to be here, to be part of this 75th anniversary, I think one of the most significant anniversaries that we’re going to be celebrating in this area.