WWII veteran and Medal of Honor recipient laid to rest

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GALLUP, N.M. – New Mexico native Hiroshi Miyamura passed away last week at the age of 97 after serving in World War II, and earning the Congressional Medal of Honor during the Korean War. 

It was a goodbye fit for a hero at Sunset Memorial Park, and much of Gallup was there to pay their respects. 

“He did a lot for the community, he was proud of Gallup, and we are proud of him. We do love him, and we respect him and hope he rests in peace,” said Esther Candalaria. 

Showing what a huge impact Miyaumra had on the community. 

“He’s our local hero here in Gallup New Mexico, and we want to pay our respects,” said Raquel Smith Chavez. 

Family, friends and the city gathered to say one last goodbye to their father, grandfather, and pride of Gallup. 

“His motto that he had that he said helped him survive through 28 months as a prisoner of war, and its ‘always believe in yourself, god and country’ and we’re all going to live by that, by his example,” said Ken Riege, a close friend to Miyamura.  

Anyone who knew Miyamura or “Hershey” as he was affectionately called, say he was so humble. He never called himself a hero but was always willing to share his experiences. 

But, to so may he was a hero, and his namesake Miyamura High School is now serving as a way for Gallup to honor his legacy. 

“When we’d go to the school, they couldn’t have announced it faster over the intercom ‘Mr. Miyamura is here.’ As soon as those kids seen him they say ‘ah come get a selfie.’ So I said ‘did you enjoy those selfies?’ and he’d say ‘what’s that’ and when he knew what they were he loved them,” said Riege.  

And those close to him remember their dear friend and brother.  

“He had such an amazing smile and such an amazing sense of humor too, and we’d always laugh with each other and joke, and he’d tease me about being in the Air Force,” Riege said.  

While Miyamura is no longer here in person, his legacy will live on forever. He was laid to rest next to his wife Terry.