RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA,TV)- The community gathered at Black Hills State University to honor 97-year-old life long Spearfish resident and World War ll Veteran Kenneth Higashi.
Kenneth Higashi receives prestigious medals due to his service.
Honor, sacrifice, and hero were just a few of the words used to describe World War ll Veteran, Kenneth Higashi.
"Take this opportunity to properly recognize someone for all that he has done for our nation and the nation of France," says master of ceremonies, Gregory Dias.
Higashi was a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team who served in Europe during World War ll.
"Most highly decorated unit of all time in United States history. And he was being honored with a bunch of United States awards and Frances highest honor," says Dias.
Higashi received a dozen awards including such prestigious honors as the French Legion of honor and the Bronze Star Medal.
"It was really overwhelming and quite emotional," says a friend of Higashi, Lauren Harris.
Many describe him as an understated, quiet, and reserved individual, so to have a crowd of people honoring him was quite an experience.
"Sacrifices that he made, and his generation made for them for the ones that were to come without really making a big deal out of it," says Harris.
"There are honor and selflessness, and he was willing to put everything on the line," says Dias.
But the awards weren't the most crucial part for Higashi; it was making sure the younger generation learns from history.
"Some things happened to Kenneth and people like him that probably shouldn't have happened and those are lessons that we need to learn and not repeat," says Dias.