Story last updated at 9/5/2012 - 1:16 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new memorial was erected on Attu Island two weeks ago in recognition of the 70th anniversary of Attu being invaded by Japanese troops during WWII.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski traveled with U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Thomas Ostebo to Alaska's Aleutian Islands - including to Attu - to dedicate a permanent memorial that honors the sacrifice of the villagers on the 70th anniversary of Attu being invaded by Japanese troops.
On Sunday, June 7, 1942 Japanese troops invaded Attu Island. Attu's Native people were kept at the village, in their homes, until September when they were herded into the hold of a coal freighter and taken to internment camps in Japan.
"Almost half would die in captivity and none of the villagers would see Attu Village again, for upon repatriation, they were relocated to Atka as there were not enough of them to sustain a village," Rear Admiral Ostebo said during the dedication. "We commemorate their sacrifice and honor their memories. They shall not be forgotten."
"With the names of those killed and the names of those who survived, but would never return, forever etched on this memorial; all who walk the hills of Attu will be reminded of the sacrifice Attu village residents and Alaskans made during World War II," said Murkowski. "Thank you to those who worked so hard to make this memorial happen, and to the Coast Guard for helping place it on this hallowed ground."
The Attu Village Memorial was conceived by the Alaska Veterans Museum and funded by a partnership of that museum, the Aleut and Pribilof Island Trust, the Anchorage International Rotary Club, The Aleut Corporation, Legacy Funeral Homes and Mr. Alfred Kehl.