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Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, 91, of Gallup, Va., stands at a column dedicated to his accomplishments in Korea, where he was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of his comrades. .

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To distract them from the cold and hunger, Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura brings his new friend, an Italian boy from Boston, to his hometown of Gallup, NY.

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Joe Annello captures the exotic mountains and red rock desert seen in John Wayne’s movies. But Miyamura told him a different story, about how Gallup stood up for American ideals when so many stood against him.

Sixty-eight years later, their enduring friendship is proof that the small town was once faced with a problem that the country is debating today – where people of certain ethnicities or faith suits itself. This is the story of how a little courage helped turn an “enemy alien” into an American hero.

Hiroshi Miyamura, taught in 1931 at the age of 5. As a child, Gallup was a newcomer to the United States.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the mayor of the mall, Dominick “Mickey” Mollica, left, told Gallup that Japanese families would be treated the same as Italian families.

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Left: Hiroshi Miyamura, introduced in 1931 at the age of 5. As a child, Gallup was a newcomer from across America. Right: After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the mayor, Dominic “Mickey” Mollica, left, told the Japanese families of Gallup that they would be treated like Italian families.

When Miyamura was a child, he told Annello, Gallup was famous for its newcomers and Native Americans, train stations in the windy Colorado Highlands, bars, Catholic taverns and rattlesnake gifts.

They worked as coal workers, train drivers, bartenders, ranchers, lumberjacks, shepherds, and traders Indian-Slavs, Italians, Finns, Russians, Irish, Greeks, Mexicans, Navajos, and Zunis.

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Hiroshi’s parents came to Gallup in 1923 and opened a diner. His father, Yachi, had traveled through the American West several years ago

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And Yellowstone National Park, and worked for many years for miners outside of Gallup in his sister’s home. He loved the American landscape and the sense of personal freedom.

Within a year, the couple bought a 24-hour diner called OK Cafe in a strip mall on Coal Street, off Route 66. Their family grew up in the basement— the fourth of seven children. , born in 1925.

Hiroshi Miyamura was born in Gallup, USA to Japanese immigrants. He served in the army during the Korean War and was a prisoner of war for more than two years. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions and returned to Gallup as a hero. (Video by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times; Editing by Mark Martin.)

Hiroshi knows little about Japan. His mother died when he was 11 years old, and his father never spoke of his hometown. The family speaks English at home and doesn’t consider themselves anything but American.

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Hiroshi joined the Boy Scouts and delivered newspapers on his bicycle. After school, he ran wild with his friends, shooting a BB gun into the rabbit brush, playing “Hopelong Cassidy” and “Flash Gordon” and digging a hole on the banks of the Puerto Rico River.

They set up a soccer match in the street behind the restaurant and faced each other with the racism of the moment.

The only time he spends with 25 other Japanese families in Gallup is on Sundays, when they gather in an old dining car that has become the Japanese Free Methodist Church.

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America’s Bar in downtown Gallup is not far from where Hiroshi Miyamura spent his childhood.

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One winter Sunday an Irish friend took him bird hunting. When they returned to the village that night, they heard on the radio that Japan had bombed Hawaii.

The principal called a meeting the next day. He told the students not to blame their Japanese friends.

In a town of only 7,000 people, Japanese American families are firmly entrenched in the community. Some leaders. Others repair cars. A few boys are basketball and soccer stars.

The new director of the business, Dominic “Mickey” Mollica, told the Japanese family that they would be treated like their Italian family.

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At first, the country is mostly of the same character. Federal officials have been investigating Japanese Americans for years and found no sign of their support for Imperial Japan in the war. The disturbing cable shows that Tokyo sees American immigrants as traitors to the land of their Nikkei ancestors.

Gallup, New Mexico was named “America’s Most Patriotic Small Town” by Rand McNally in 2013.

A view of America’s history 66 through Gallup, where many Americans live. The Miyamura Overpass connecting Route 66 (118 East) is not far from here.

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The Desert Sky Motel is located on Route 66, which runs through Gallup.

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Clockwise from left: Gallup, USA, view of historic Route 66 that runs through the city. Miyamura Crossing, the war Hero’s Highway, is connected to Route 66 (AD 118 East). A collection of stores from Gallup. Desert Sky Motel on Route 66.

But the government’s policy of deporting Japanese Americans quickly fell apart, as the daily press reported Japanese attacks on Hong Kong, Malaya, the Dutch East Indies, and the Philippines.

In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the first to serve 120,000 Japanese on the West Coast, more than 60 percent Hundreds of people are Americans.

Months later, Miyamura watched the faces of Japanese people from the windows of eastbound trains as thousands of them headed to two camps in Arkansas.

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As Gallup sat outside the demilitarized “military zone” along the coast, the government did not order the Japanese to leave their homes. Mas Clovis, n. In some cities outside the military zone, Japanese workers were fired, arrested, tortured and whipped, and schools told them to keep their children at home.

Hiroshi Miyamura was greeted by a group of Marines after speaking to them about his wartime experience at the Gallup Cultural Center.

Mollica Gallup, a 34-year-old American veteran, set the tone, supported by his friend Guido Zecca, a veteran of foreign wars behind the leader. As Zach’s son forgot about the time, when talking about the Japanese, Molika told his father, “They are citizens here, and we don’t go around them.”

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Nikkei men keep their jobs on the railroad, and families still gather at the train church on Sundays. Students at Gallup High School elected Japanese boys as class presidents three times during the war.

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A customer was fired from his grocery store because he didn’t want a “Jap” handling the food. Hiroshi’s sisters were told to go back home after the cows driving the Rama Market outside taunted them.

Hiroshi never thought of him as anything but an American. Now he knows that others see him differently.

Above: Hiroshi Miyamura speaks to a group of Navy SEALs at the Gallup Cultural Center. Bottom: Miyamura wears his fancy dress before entering the event as a special speaker. Right: Miyamura salutes Marines on the beach as he signs a book about his war service.

Like many 16-year-olds, especially shy, doing something a little, he wants to prove that he is a man.

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He began competing in track and field and joined ROTC in high school. After graduation he was sent to train with the decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team – although the wars against Italy and Germany were over by the time he went to Europe.

Returning from Gallup, he met Terri Tsuchimori, a young woman from Winslow whose family spent most of the war at a camp in Poston, Ariz. They were married in June 1948.

Two years later, Miyamura returned to the US island of Kyushu, where his father grew up. He trained as a heavy weapons team member of the 3rd Army Division’s 7th Infantry Regiment in the US’s Operation Ranger in North Korea.

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Although many American soldiers still resented the Japanese Americans, he made friends with other group leaders. Joe Annello came from the west side of Boston and counted Italian, Polish, Jewish, Irish, Russian and Portuguese boys as his friends and spoke their language. But he never met a Japanese man.

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Where did Hiroshi Miyamura visit the grave?

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