A project of this magnitude demands the support and conviction of many people and many organizations.
The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center was formed in 1991 by representatives of all of the veterans organizations on Maui associated with Japanese Americans of World War II, including:
- Maui AJA Veterans, Inc.: Formed in 1947 as an organization for men who served in all branches of the US armed forces in World War II, it now includes veterans of all US conflicts since. The organization's purpose is "to perpetuate the memory of our fallen comrades and to do what they would have done had they returned." To that end, members are dedicated to community and civic service. It sponsors a high school scholarship program (open to all qualified students, regardless of ethnicity), interest-free student loans, and the PONY baseball league.
- Maui 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans: Veterans, wives and widows of the men of the 100th Infantry Battalion. Members are active in community service, and each September hold a memorial service at our Center to commemorate the first 100th Infantry Battalion casualty in Italy on September 29, 1943.
- 442nd Veterans Club: Formed in 1951, one of the organizations' purposes is "to preserve the memory of the supreme sacrifice made by our fallen comrades." The Club has been an active fund-raising partner of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center.
- Military and Intelligence Service: Veterans, wives and widows of the men who were Japanese language specialists in World War II.
- West Maui AJA Veterans: Founded in 1946 by veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team living in the Lahaina area. It is active in promoting community and civic activities in the community.
- Maui Sons and Daughters of Nisei Veterans: Formed in 1981, the purpose of the organization is to perpetuate the memory and accomplishments of the Japanese Amercian soldiers of World War II. It is actively compiling oral histories of WWII veterans, and maintains an archive center of books, documents and memorabilia from the Nisei veterans and their families.
Left to right: Barbara Watanabe, Center executive director; Ronald Nakata, Maui AJA Veterans Inc. president; Hiroshi Arisumi, Center president; Tom Hiranaga, Maui AJA Veterans treasurer
The Maui AJA Veterans, Inc. has been a generous supporter of our project. In 2003 they presented the center with a $100,000 kick-off contribution.