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Memorial Day Service to Be Held at Arlington National Cemetery

By May 5, 2023May 19th, 2023No Comments

The 75th annual event will also include a gravesite visit and placing of a floral arrangement at nearly 220 identified gravesites.

“Taps” played by a bugler from the United States Army Band in 2020. (Photo: Linda Sato Adams)

The JACL DC chapter, JACL National, Japanese American Veterans Assn. and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, in partnership with the Kobayashi family, are sponsoring the annual Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery in the Columbarium Ceremonial Courtyard on May 28 at 10 a.m. (EDT).

This year marks the 75th consecutive memorial service honoring veterans and their families, and the theme is “75 years: Honoring Our Heroes.” The event’s keynote speaker will be Maj. Kay Izumihara, USAR. She has been in the U.S. Army Reserves for 20 years, with about a third of her Army career spent on active duty. She is currently assigned to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and provides support to the Joint Intelligence Operations Center.

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The event will also welcome Kaitlyn and Aiden Lawrence, siblings from Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School and Kingsview Middle School in Germantown, Md., to deliver remarks about honoring the service and sacrifice of veterans and their families. In addition, a special tribute will be made honoring Robert (Bob) Nakamoto, SSGT, US Air Force, a former Topaz incarceree, a Korean War veteran and a former president of JAVA.

At the conclusion of the memorial service, participants and organizers will together fan out across ANC and place floral arrangements and offer heartfelt gratitude at nearly 220 identified gravesites, which supplements the annual custom of soldiers placing American flags at the tombs of the more than 400,000 individuals who are interred at ANC.

To visit the list of individuals who the organizations will honor with a gravesite visit and the placing of a floral arrangement, visit If you have loved ones, friends or colleagues missing from the list, please email, and the chapter will make sure that they are added to the list and properly honored. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the arrangements honoring our fallen heroes, please visit the JACL DC website ( to make a contribution. Please add a note that your donation is for the Memorial Day service.

Arlington Cemetery headstones, 2019 (Photo: John Tobe)

Besides the officially organized Memorial Day and Veterans Day services held by ANC, this Memorial Day observation is the longest, continuous annual event held at ANC. Key Kobayashi, Military Intelligence Service veteran and one of the founders of JAVA, along with the JACL DC chapter, began the Memorial Day gravesite decoration program in 1948.

When Kobayashi passed away in 1992, his family continued the tradition, with son Turner Kobayashi currently serving as coordinator.

All are invited to attend this public program at Arlington. Attendees should plan on arriving by 9:30 a.m. to clear security.

The program will also be live-streamed on JAVA’s Facebook feed ( at 10 a.m. EDT and posted on the JAVA website (

For more information, please visit the sponsors’ websites:

  • Japanese American Veterans Association,, or contact Neet Ford, executive director, at
  • National Japanese American Memorial Foundation,, or contact Peyton Elmendorf at
  • Japanese American Citizens League, DC Chapter,, or contact Julie Abo at
  • Japanese American Citizens League, National,, or contact Bridget Keaveney at