Ted Tsukiyama still recalls how quickly life changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
“It was quite traumatic and totally unexpected,” said the 96-year-old World War II veteran, who was a student at the University of Hawaii at the time. “That morning the radio called for all University ROTC [Reserved Officers’ Training Corps] to report to the university armory. We were issued rifles to help guard the city and our regiment was converted into the Hawaii Territorial Guard.”
Sirens were installed around the city after the war started, Tsukiyama added, and there would be periodic tests. “I remember hearing the sirens going off. The radio would give us a warning: ‘This is only a test, don’t get alarmed,'” said Tsukiyama, who was born and raised in Hawaii.
Along with other Nisei [second-generation Japanese Americans], he joined the Varsity Victory Volunteers and the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, then was reassigned to the Military Intelligence Service in India and Burma. (One of the characters in the new movie, “Go For Broke,” is based on Tsukiyama’s life and he also made a cameo appearance in the film.)
These days, Tsukiyama says he isn’t surprised the air raid warning sirens will be wailing again come December — only this time, it’s due to the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea and because Hawaii has long been a military defense outpost.
“I suppose that’s necessary as a precaution, but I don’t think North Korea is gonna attack,” Tsukiyama said. “They’d be foolish to threaten South Korea or Japan or the United States.”
But concerns are growing. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has repeatedly threatened to drop a bomb over the Pacific Ocean, and President Donald Trump has threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” and designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Heidi Chang