Okazu by Gary Hongo
On Veterans Day, November 11th, we pay tribute to those who served in our Armed Forces. If you’ve been to Washington D.C. and the Capitol Mall, you may have seen the memorials the east end of the Reflecting Pool honoring those who served in WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The WWII Memorial stands out because of its size with its 56 pillars and two small triumphal arches arranged in a semicircle around a fountain. The memorial pays tribute to military mem-bers and civilians who served in WWII. The Korean War Memorial is eerily dramatic when seen at night. Life size statues of soldiers appear to be on patrol in the battlefield in the harsh environment of the Korean winter. If its drizzling or foggy when viewed, the effects can be haunting. The Vietnam Memorial brings out a peaceful silence with its black granite wall with 58,320 names inscribed on it representing those service mem-bers who died as a result of serving during that war.
Many living veterans of these wars have never travelled to Washington D.C. to see these memorials. A nonprofit organization called Honor Flight was formed to help these veterans do just that and free of charge. The person must have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard or Merchant Marines. Relying on donations and volunteers, each Honor Flight chapter, once contacted by a veteran or his/her family member, will screen the applicant’s eligibility. If he/she qualifies, the veteran will be prioritized to make that trip with WWII and Korean War participants going first followed by Vietnam veterans. Flight, lodging, ground transportation and meals are paid for. A volunteer escort is also provided for by Honor Flight. If you are a veteran of any of these wars or know of someone who is and would like to travel to Washington D.C. contact the Central Coast Chapter of Honor Flight at (805)610-0180.
In 2011 as an Honor Flight representative, I had the opportunity to help 35 Japanese American WWII veterans attend the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in Washington D.C. and to visit the WWII Memorial. Enabling these veterans to accomplish this trip while they were still alive was well worth the countless hours spent contacting them, processing the necessary docu-ments and coordinating the flights for them and their escorts.
6996 Ontario Rd., San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
Res. Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
It's Better To Give Than To Receive
Living up to that old adage, SLO Buddhist Church has lately undertaken a movement to become more involved in helping those less fortunate. About a year and a half ago, San Jose Betsuin reached out to SLOBC about partnering with them and Watsonville Buddhist Church to collect shoes that will be shipped to a third world country. Old shoes, new shoes, dress shoes, athletic shoes, children’s shoes and flip-flops – they were all welcomed to be donated. The shoe drive will be ending in late November and to date SLOBC has collected 600 pairs of shoes and the 3 temples combined, 3100 pairs. It’s not too late to bring in your shoes.
Another ongoing community project is collecting non-perishable food to help the local food banks. Canned goods are popular donated items but pasta, rice and cereal are convenient too. During this time of the year, many agencies will be putting out calls for donations but we hope to work with the food banks throughout the year. A donation box is located in the temple’s foyer but if you find the doors closed, just leave them in the shade at the front door. Ruth Vines is heading this effort.
A third project that we’ve just undertaken is a temple blood drive. We are working with Vitalant to have a Bloodmobile come to our church and “service” 20 to 30 donors. As you know, blood and its related products (plasma and platelets) are valuable commodities and always in demand. Barry Bridge is our coordinator and we hope to have a visit by the Bloodmobile at least 4 times per year.
Over 3 years ago during a brainstorming session on “How to Attract More People to Our Church,” Tom & Greer Nishikawa volunteered to set up a booth (pop-up tent) at SLO’s Farmers Market on Thursday evenings. Its purpose was to make people aware of SLOBC’s presence in our community and to answer any questions that a person may have regarding Buddhism, especially Jodo Shinshu. If success is measured by the number of people who drop by our booth during Downtown Thursdays, then this venture has exceeded its goals. Some of these visitors have attended our services or attended our Intro-duction to Buddhism class. Although SLOBC has cut back on its frequency of participation in Downtown Thursdays, other members have volunteered to greet people at this event and continue our attempt to attract new attendees at our services.
The BLOOD MOBILE will be at the temple parking lot
Dec. 1, 2019 12pm - 4pm
To donate, you MUST have an appointment. Please email
Temple clean up, 9am
People's Kitchen, 9am
Movie Night, 5:30pm
Intro to Buddhism, 6:00pm
*** DATES TO REMEMBER ***