PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) -- At the World War II memorial in Providence on Monday, there were fresh flowers -- and fresh fears that Victory Day is under threat.

"We need to remember them," Sal Caiozzo said of the fallen troops. "I don't want to see them go by the wayside."

Caiozzo, a veteran and descendent of World War II veterans, is concerned by the "Rename Victory Day" campaign.

It was started by Lois Harada of Providence, whose grandmother was placed in an internment camp. She says emphasizing the word 'victory' diminishes the suffering of the Japanese people.

But she doesn't want to diminish the sacrifices American forces made either.

"I don't have any interest in taking away that holiday from people or changing the way that they celebrate," Harada said. "I just think it's important to think about the language we're using around the holiday, and to make things feel more inclusive."

She's encouraging people to create alternative names for the holiday that reflect the fact that Rhode Island is the only state to celebrate it.

Her effort is even getting support from some officials.

"I want to keep ours the way that it is," said Harada of the unique holiday, "but just recognize that most people now are using it as a great beach day."

But Caiozzo says -- even at the beach -- people should take a moment to remember those who sacrificed everything.

"Just think about them that day," he said. "That's all they have to do."

Harada says she hopes to meet with lawmakers, and perhaps put forward a bill for the upcoming legislative session.

 

©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2019