War and Peace

Support Amidst Strife.

A Force for Peace

From the Civil War to the Great War to the horror of war brought to our own backyard at Pearl Harbor, the YMCA has always been there in support of our armed forces, impacted communities, and as advocates for peace and understanding.

Dec. 7, 1941 Attack on Pearl Harbor

Caught in the chaos and panic, Nu‘uanu YMCA staffers calmed O‘ahu residents while the branch provided shelter to those whose homes were destroyed. Atherton YMCA Director Hung Wai Ching was considered a local hero for his efforts to minimize the internment of local Japanese residents and for advocating for the formation of the Varsity Victory Volunteers and renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Nationally, YMCA staff also worked secretly in U.S. internment camps to organize clubs and activities for children.

1943 Central YMCA was home to the USO War Workers’ Club which attracted tens of thousands of civilian war workers and men and women in uniform. The USO, formerly known as the United Service Organizations for National Defense, was formed in 1941 by the YMCA along with five other national voluntary organizations.

1966 YMCA Honolulu delegation to Hiroshima. The YMCA Hiroshima and Honolulu teen exchange program, “Let’s Get Together,” started in 1961 after Hiroshima became the sister city of Honolulu in 1959. Today it is the longest running international student exchange program in the nation. Students alternate each summer hosting each other in their homes, sharing their culture, developing friendships and leading the way for world peace.


Youth ➔