Memorial Day monuments honor veterans

Posted at 5:40 PM, May 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-27 19:40:10-04

BLUFFDALE, Utah – Hundreds gathered Monday to pay tribute to war veterans, and new monuments honoring different groups of soldiers were dedicated.

The ceremonies took place at the Veterans Memorial Park in Bluffdale.

One of the monuments unveiled Monday recognized the efforts of Japanese Americans. Casey Kunimura fought with the 442nd regimental combat unit in France and Italy during WWII, and he said the day’s events were gratifying.

“I think it's quite an honor to be recognized by your own country,” he said.

Kunimura was 17-years-old when he was put into a Japanese internment camp on U.S. soil. Later, he and other young Japanese men were allowed to fight on the front lines while many of their family members were held captive back home. Each member of the all-Japanese battalion and combat unit was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2012.

Terry Schow, executive director of the Utah Department of Veteran Affairs, said the unit has been honored more than any other.

“The most decorated unit in all of World War II, and possibly the most decorated unit in all of military history,” he said of the 442nd.

Kunimura said many of those in his unit made the ultimate sacrifice.

“There's a large number that never did come home with us, that are still overseas,” he said.

Another monument was unveiled Monday, and this one was dedicated to the Green Berets.

Scott Maddox is a special forces veteran who served in Vietnam, and he said people treat soldiers differently now than they did during the Vietnam War.

“It's really interesting to see people concerned and know about us—that’s happening more and more” he said. “When I came home from Vietnam nobody met us at the airport even. And now it's a whole different world.”