HONORING AMERICAN POW'S WHO DIED AT HIROSHIMA
(Extensions of Remarks - May 24, 2018)

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[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 86 (Thursday, May 24, 2018)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E729]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             HONORING AMERICAN POW'S WHO DIED AT HIROSHIMA

                                 ______
                                 

                           HON. NIKI TSONGAS

                            of massachusetts

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 24, 2018

  Ms. TSONGAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to your attention a 
unique monument that is about to be installed in my district on 
Memorial Day. On May 28th a ceremony will be held at the Centralville 
Memorial Park in Lowell, Massachusetts to place a memorial stone in 
honor of the 12 American Army and Naval aviators who died as POWs from 
the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Participating in the 
remembrance will be Mr. Shigeaki Mori from Japan, a Hiroshima survivor 
(a hibakusha) who has devoted nearly half his life to identifying these 
men and notifying their families of their fate.
  One of the POWs was 19-year-old Navy Airman 3rd-class Norman 
Brissette from Lowell, Massachusetts. He was among the 12 American 
airmen who survived the downing of four planes while on missions over 
Hiroshima and Kure on July 28, 1945. At the memorial ceremony, the 
Brissette family and friends will be joined by the family of another 
Hiroshima POW Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. Ralph J. Neal from Corbin, 
Kentucky. Both families were featured in the documentary film, Paper 
Lanterns, about Mr. Mori's quest to honor the memory and bravery of 
these American POWs.
  Mr. Mori was eight years old when he survived the bombing of 
Hiroshima, then a military city. His elementary school became a 
temporary hospital and soon a crematory. As an adult, haunted by the 
horror and doubting the official number of 800 dead, Mr. Mori sought to 
find out how many people had died at his school. The actual number was 
2,300. During his research, he also discovered that 12 American POWs 
were among the 100,000 who perished in Hiroshima.
  The Americans were prisoners of the Kempeitai and held in Hiroshima's 
Chugoku Military Police Headquarters near the atomic blast's epicenter. 
Mr. Mori has spent decades identifying these Americans and locating 
their surviving family members in the United States. With the family's 
permission, he had the names of each of the 12 airman inscribed in 
Hiroshima's Register of the Names of the Fallen Atomic Bomb Victims. In 
July 1998, Mr. Mori placed a memorial plaque to the men on the building 
that was their prison. It is the only memorial in Hiroshima dedicated 
to the Americans killed there.
  On May 27, 2016 President Barack Obama became the first sitting 
president to visit Hiroshima. After the ceremony, the President hugged 
a tearful Mr. Mori and thanked him for his work on behalf of the 
American POWs. The image of President Obama and embracing Mr. Mori has 
come to define friendship and reconciliation between the United States 
and Japan.
  I welcome Mr. Mori and his wife Kayoko to my district and thank them 
for their dedication to peace and to making a world free of nuclear 
weapons. As President Obama said at Hiroshima, ``we have a shared 
responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we 
must do differently to curb such suffering again.'' This is what the 
Moris have done.

                          ____________________