Community members gather in Palo Alto, Calif., to hold the annual Memorial Day remembrance service.
The stone reads “memorial for the pioneers without families.” The Japanese community in the 1920s wanted to make sure that pioneers without families would be remembered through an annual community remembrance service. The tradition continues as the 2018 Memorial Day Community Service remembrance was held on May 27 at Alta Mesa Memorial Cemetery in Palo Alto, Calif. A 10-foot stone monument marks the site where ministers, organization representatives and community members first participated in the community remembrance event.
In 1930, Japanese community groups in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos made an agreement with Alta Mesa Cemetery that it would maintain the site and allow the community remembrance service to continue there.
The stone monument was made in Japan and placed at the site with the agreement inscribed on its wall. The Japanese Gardener Assn. planted boxwood plants around the monument and maintained it for years until the group disbanded. Now, the Alta Mesa Cemetery maintains the area.
The May 27 community interfaith service was led by Rev. Roger Morimoto from Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Rev. Dean Koyama from the Palo Alto Buddhist Temple, Rev. Arnold Matsuda from the Nichiren Buddhist Temple, Pastor Yoshinosuke Nakao from the Santa Clara Valley Japanese Christian Church, Pastor Filipe Ferriera from the Mountain View Japanese Seventh-Day Adventist Church and Rev. Yoshi Mukojima from the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. La Donna Yumori-Kaku from the Sequoia JACL was the mistress of ceremonies along with Jocelyn Lombera, Sequoia JACL/Foothill College Scholarship recipient.
Seven community representatives also offered flowers in remembrance of the pioneers and those who have passed. They included Charles Dene (Palo Alto Buddhist Temple), Asahiko Kikuchi (Peninsula Hope Church), Jocelyn Lombera (Sequoia JACL), Sterling Makishima (Mountain View Buddhist Temple), Robert Nakasora (Nichiren Buddhist Temple), Mike Nishiki (community at large) and Kelli Yamaguma (Aldersgate United Methodist Church).