In 1960 when Wheel Chair Seven made her very unscheduled landing on the river bed near Mima-Town, she was observed while coming down by a junior high school class . By the time the crew and passengers got out of the plane, the first of the community was arriving, led by Mr. Sadaichiro Araoka, the English teacher of the students. Mr. Araoka took in the scene, and then proceeded to help the crew and passengers. His actions were much like those of the rest of the community, they took in the crew, passengers and aircraft as one of their own. This was not very long after a war from which many could have had remaining bitterness, but they showed courtesy, graciousness, and friendship that is remembered and honored after all these years.

 

During the stay of the Americans while recovering Wheel Chair Seven, a bond was formed between the people of Mima-Town and MCAS Iwakuni. The Marines of Iwakuni erected a monument to the friendship, and the help given to the recovery, that lasted until a few years ago when the it started to showed decay. The people of Mima-Town felt the monument, and the friendship, needed rejuvenation and set out to accomplish both. On Dec 17th, 2004 a ceremony was held where the original monument had been refurbished, and a new monument was placed by the people of Mima-Town, while the friendship was renewed. The following is about this ceremony, by and about, the people of Mima-Town. The story of Wheel Chair Seven is not complete with out the telling of her Japanese benefactors.

 

 

 

                                                 Memorial placed by MCAS Iwkuni 1961                   

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