2019 Memorial Day at Montrose Cemetery
• The Annual Memorial Day Service was held on May 27 by the Mutual Aid Society of Chicago at the Montrose Cemetery on Chicago’s Northside. More than 80 years ago, the majority of established cemeteries in the Chicago area would not bury Japanese Americans (JAs), but only Montrose Cemetery accepted them. Since its inception in 1935, the Society has purchased cemetery plots and resold them to people and families in the JA community at affordable prices. The Society also built a mausoleum in 1937, and has kept remains of those who died without family or relatives. Today, over 2,000 families and individuals of JAs are resting in the Cemetery.
• In his opening remarks, the Society’s President Gary Shimomura said that a number of the JA community people gathered before the Memorial Day to clean the Nisei Post Memorial and to place American flags on the grave of JA veterans. “I am truly humbled to see the large quantity of flags that were placed,” Shimomura said.
• He spoke about a popular phrase of “Never Forget” among the JA community. The meaning of the words is; never forget the injustice of the JA incarceration during WWII; never forget the bravery and patriotism of young JAs who volunteered to serve in the army from the incarceration camps to protect the freedoms; and never forget the history. “So that prejudices and injustices inflicted against people who have backgrounds different than our own are not repeated,” he said.
• Shimomura also said, “The motto of the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago is ‘Embracing our legacy and building our future,’” and spoke about the importance of building the future of the JA community through its community outreach programs such as supporting programs for elderly and youth of the next generation. “We are supportive of all Japanese within the Chicagoland,” he said and invited the audience to became a member of the Society or renew their membership.
• The Memorial Service started with posting of colors
by the Chicago Nisei Post #1183, followed by scripture reading and prayer
by Rev. Mikio Matsuzawa and Rev. Linda Misewicz-Perconte; choral selections
of “Candle on the Water” and the hymn “Sweet By and By” led by Chelsea
Dolinar-Hikawa; the Buddhist chanting by Buddhist Ministers, Rev. Ron
Miyamura, Rev. Patti Nakai, Ms. Kayo Murayami and other prayers; Gotha
“Nadame” and songs “Hana” and “Furusato” sung by Chicago Soyokaze Chorus
with director Hisashi Shoji; and an invocation by Rev. Kunihito Fumioka,
representing Tenrikyo Churches.
People in the Montrose Cemetery
• Mark Kamiya and his cousin Pat Walters are Sansei (the
third generation of JAs). Kamiya said that coming out for the Memorial
Service in the Montrose Cemetery has become “a family tradition.”
• Arlene Kajiwara, JA Sansei, said, “We didn’t come every
year, but we try to come as often as we can.”
Italian Boy Who Cherished Nisei Soldiers
• Americo Bugliani, who had attended the Memorial Day
Service from Italy almost every year to pay respect for the Nisei soldiers,
passed away last January, and his wife, Ann, attended it alone and talked
about Americo’s memories.
• Bugliani lived in the village of Pietrasanta, where
Nisei troops of the 442 Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry
Battalion were camping to attack the Gothic Line.
Montrose Cemetery in Chicago's northside
The Chicago Nisei Post #1183
Christian Choir led by Chelsea Dolinar Hikawa
Soyokaze Chorus group
The Buddhist chanting by Buddhist Ministers
Americo Bugliani’s wife, Ann Bugliani, can be seen at the center of the photo.