Some Japanese and U.S. World War II veterans from the Pacific are scheduled to meet on Wednesday as they warm up for a ballgame billed as Field of Dreams Hawaii.
The event is a special exchange program to allow the old enemies to play a match with bats, balls, and gloves instead of weapons, KITV reported.
“We’ve met these men for the first time and became friends of theirs. Some of them spoke English and that was a big plus,” said World War II veteran Irwin Abelson.
Abelson said he made peace in his heart with the Japanese after the war, but acknowledged that some of his fellow servicemen and women had not.
“So it was important to play the Japanese veterans, and for some of us, it’s a healing process. Some of us felt pretty good about it and we think of Japan as an ally of the United States now,” said Abelson.
Seniors from around Hawaii are also taking part in the tournament and many said it has been a dream of theirs for a long time.
“This isn’t just a sporting event or an entertainment event. This is kind of an opportunity to honor the souls of young soldiers who lost their lives in the Pacific war,” said Abelson.
Organizers said the game will be played Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at Hans L’Orange Park near Pearl Harbor.