Plans for 75th Anniversary Tour of France, July 2019
Brian Yamamoto of Alaska will be leading and organizing stops on a 75th Anniversary Tour of France in July 2019. Brian and his wife Leslie were on the 2009 tour with Lawson Sakai of the 442nd RCT and Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans. Brian led a 2013 tour to Italy with 43 people and a 442nd veteran and also led a 2014 France tour with 65 people and two 442nd veterans. He is working with Nora Di Bievre on planning the 2019 trip. Nora was one of the guides for the 2014 France tour and also led the study group a year later with Stuart Hirai’s group.
Details for the 2019 tour are currently being worked out and the organizers expect an itinerary to be available in the first part of 2018. They are hoping to plan a “short 6 day tour” to encourage any veterans who may be thinking of joining. This shorter tour will only visit the Vosges and the celebrations there around Bastille Day, July 14, 2019. There will be a “long 13-14 day tour” which will visit Sospel and L’Escarene, eventually meeting up with the “short tour” in Bruyeres.
While in the Vosges, the group will visit all of the monuments which will include: 442nd RCT, Lost Battalion, Yohei Sagami Stele, Tomosu Hirahara Square, 3rd Infantry Division, 45th Infantry Division, Robert Booth, and the 405th FS. We will also visit the American Cemeteries at Epinal and Lorraine for wreath laying ceremonies. The group will place leis and flags at grave markers of the 100th/442nd soldiers buried there.
Sospel and L’Escarene are in the French Maritime Alps where the Nisei troops were after the bitter fighting in the Vosges. It became known as the “Champagne Campaign”. The long tour group will place a wreath at the plaque in Sospel where Larry Miura and Kenji Sugiwara were killed. We will spend a day in Sospel visiting with the locals during special ceremonies. The tour will spend a day in L’Escarene which is famous for the Christmas party the Nisei troops held for the children in 1944. When the tour visited in 2014, there were many adults who were children at that party.
The organizers will keep those interested informed of any developments for the tour periodically. They are expecting a large group for this historic occasion, so it would be a good idea to sign up early once the itinerary is available in 2018. There may be a limit for the tour of around 100 people.
If you have further questions, you can contact Brian Yamamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him at: 2136 Airport Way #2 Fairbanks, AK 99701.