Memorial Day: One More GI Story

“06880” reader Ed Hynes writes:

In 1985 I was living in Tokyo. My girlfriend (who later became my wife) and I decided to attend the 40th anniversary memorial service of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.  The service was very solemn and moving.

Afterward, we were outside a restaurant. A very nicely dressed Japanese man approached us, and asked if we were looking to have lunch. He then pointed to his mother across the street, an elderly woman dressed in her best outfit. He said she wanted to buy us lunch, but did not want to impose and eat with us.

We thanked him, and asked why.

He said his mother had been in Hiroshima in August 1945. Shortly after the bombing, American GIs came in. She could not believe how nice they were to her and the Japanese people.

He said she had always wanted to thank an American for the kindness of our soldiers, which was why she wanted to buy us lunch.

We savored the meal, and will forever cherish the “thank you” we were privileged to receive on behalf of the Greatest Generation.

Have a great Memorial Day, Ed says. And be sure to thank someone — a member of our armed forces, or a healthcare or other essential worker.

Ed and Rosemary Hynes, 1988.

4 responses to “Memorial Day: One More GI Story

  1. Craig Clark

    The Japanese citizens had been told for years the Americans would rape and pillage if they came. This is why many committed suicide on Saipan.

    My father was in the occupation Army before being sent home.

  2. Such a nice story, Dan. Thank you for passing it on

  3. Robert Grin

    Is this the Ed that walks?

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Very nice story to share. Thanks, Dan

    When we were living in Paris in the late 70’s we would often encounter people, particularly out in the countryside, who would express their gratitude to us for what America did for France when they found out we were Americans. I recall, in particular, one woman in a small village in Normandy where we stopped for a bite. When she discovered where we were from, she smiled, blessed herself and started emoting rapidly in French. The only thing I was able to translate was 6 Juin1944 the date of the Allied Invasion.

    Unlike Ed Hynes, I do not recall getting a free meal, but the pride I felt for our brave solders and the smile on her face were both priceless.