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The NISEI Memorial at Fairmount

Niesi-Monument-2-300x200In Block 35, along the east of Fairmount is the beautiful Nisei Memorial. During World War II many people from the west coast of Japanese ancestry were interned in detention camps, including Camp Amache, in southeastern Colorado. Many of those who were born in the U.S. of Japanese immigrants (Nisei) volunteered for U.S. Army service. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised of these Nisei was the most decorated unit in the Army for its size and duration of action in World War II. This memorial was erected in 1963. It lists the names of soldiers of Japanese ancestry who were killed in combat as well as the names of those who were later killed in Korea or Viet Nam.

One of those memorialized is Private First Class Kiyoshi Muranaga, who was posthumously awarded

Kiyoshi_K_Muranaga-218x300the Medal of Honor. His citation reads, in part: “… Muranaga distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 26 June, 1944, near Suverto, Italy.” His mortar squad was pinned down by a German 88mm gun, and all except he withdrew; he manned the mortar himself and fired at the enemy. When the Germans saw where the fire was coming from they fired back, killing him instantly, but then they abandoned their position. … Private Muranaga’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service….” (Read the full citation here).  Kiyoshi Muranaga is buried in California.Near this memorial, in the northeast corner of Block 34, are the graves of many Nisei veterans who survived the war and settled in Colorado, including three soldiers of the 442 Regimental Combat Team:

  • KENNETH SHIBATA: Awarded the Bronze Star medal posthumously “for heroic achievement in action on 16 July 1944 in Italy”
  • JOSEPH ISAO MORISHIGE: Killed during action at Castelpoggio, Italy, April 14, 1945
  • SHIGARO MORISHIGE: Later became a two-time commander of American Legion Nisei Post No. 185 and a member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Photo of PVT 1 CL Muranaga courtesy of 442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society; for more information about the 442nd visit:

442nd Regimental Combat Team Historical Society