Reiko McKendry, was born Reiko Tanikawa in Tokyo, Japan in 1949, four years after the end of WW II. From a very young age her parents instilled her with a sense of gratitude toward the Americans who despite their victory over Japan, treated the Japanese people with respect and helped them rebuild their nation.
Life in Japan, however was difficult especially with a father who was abusive to her mother. At the age of fifteen, Reiko realized she had to escape the constant violence of home. She had two choices, take her own life or find a life of freedom in America.
Now after enjoying America for over forty years, she has made it her mission to thank as many veterans of World War II for helping to rebuild her native country and promote freedom throughout the world. Her book, To America With Profound Gratitude, not only chronicles her inspiring journey to independence in the land of her childhood dreams but serves as a thank you to her new homeland.
Recently, she and her husband, David McKendry, traveled from Michigan to Mississippi to speak at a reunion of World War II veterans. There weren't many dry eyes left after she concluded thanking them for the sacrifices they had made. You can read about the event here.