News

Bill to Create a Pacific War Memorial Passes House

December 8, 2017, 8:49 AM HST
Listen to this Article
4 minutes
Loading Audio...
A
A
A

US Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. Courtesy photo.

A bill establishing a memorial for U.S. soldiers who lost their lives in the Pacific during World War II, passed the U.S. House of Representatives by unanimous consent on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017.

H.R. 4300, the Admiral Lloyd R. “Joe” Vasey Pacific War Commemorative Act, was introduced by Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and Congressman Rob Bishop, the chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources.

“This memorial will help tell the stories of the members of the greatest generation who lost their lives in combat in the Pacific,” said Rep. Hanabusa. “Their experiences cannot be forgotten and we must educate future generations about this pivotal moment in American history. We must also provide a place where families and friends can mourn the loss of their loved ones. I would like to thank my colleagues for their support and I urge the Senate to quickly consider and pass this measure.”

“Rep. Hanabusa has worked to build bipartisan support on this important bill to honor America’s veterans of the Pacific Theatre,” Chairman Bishop said. “Today’s vote demonstrates broad support for this legislation, and I look forward to working with Rep. Hanabusa and our Senate colleagues to move this bill to the President’s desk.”

Congresswoman Hanabusa also delivered remarks on the measure on the House floor on the 76th anniversary of Imperial Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. (Her speech copied below and can be viewed online.)

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Pacific Historic Parks, a nonprofit organization based in Honolulu, will design and build the memorial in coordination with the National Park Service. This project will not require federal funds.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

Congresswoman Hanabusa and Chair Bishop worked with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva and 88 cosponsors who built bipartisan support for this measure to ensure swift consideration by the Natural Resources Committee.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono introduced the Admiral Lloyd R. “Joe” Vasey Pacific War Commemorative Display Establishment Act to the Senate on Dec. 7.

Rep. Hanabusa’s remarks:

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW AD

On behalf of the people of Hawaii and the veterans of the Pacific War, I speak today in support of HR 4300, the Admiral Lloyd R. “Joe” Vasey Pacific War Commemorative Act, which will establish a Pacific War memorial at Pearl Harbor.

Pacific Historic Parks, a non-profit organization based in Honolulu, will design and build the memorial in coordination with the National Park Service. This project will not require federal funds and I am grateful for their partnership.

My sincere thanks to my friend and colleague, Congressman Rob Bishop, for joining me in the introduction of this bill and working with Ranking Member Raul Grijalva to ensure swift consideration by the Natural Resources Committee.

Mahalo to our 90 cosponsors who built bipartisan support for this measure, I understand it will pass by unanimous consent this week.    

Seventy six years ago, today, Imperial Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, pulling our country into World War II.

The Pacific Theater was the scene of fierce fighting and more than 150,000 U.S. casualties. In the Philippines, Guam, the Solomon Islands, and many places in between, brave Americans lost their lives in defense of our nation.

The USS Arizona symbolizes the start of the War and the USS Missouri marks its conclusion. But there is no memorial recognizing the experiences and sacrifices of those who fought in the Pacific.

Admiral Vasey served on the USS Gunnel during the Pacific War and it is his vision that we are realizing with this memorial.  

After fighting for his country, he dedicated his life to the pursuit of peace in the Asia-Pacific.

In addition to his service in the U.S. Navy, he founded the Pacific Forum, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).  

Admiral Vasey served as the Senior Advisor for Policy, Pacific Forum CSIS, and was the former Chief of Strategic Plans and Policies for the US Pacific Command and Secretary to the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Admiral is 100 years old, and he carries with him the memories of those lost in combat and the honor and responsibility of the veterans who survived.

Hopefully, with passage of HR 4300, Admiral Vasey and the remaining survivors will find some peace knowing that their fallen soldiers will be properly honored. Future generations will visit the memorial and learn of the battles they fought.

We must share their stories of sacrifice in the hope that we prevent future generations from waging war and participating in the hysterical racism that resulted in the internment of Japanese Americans, including both of my grandfathers.

This period of American history must not be forgotten. The lessons were hard, but they helped shape a better nation.

This country owes Admiral Vasey and the members of the greatest generation a heartfelt, Mahalo.

Comments

This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments

Newsletters

Get a quick summary of what’s happening on the Big Island with our daily & weekly email of news highlights.