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Students from Arnn Elementary school at Camp Zama's Sagamihara Housing Area sing "America the Beautiful" during a 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony Thursday. The flag some of the students are holding was designed by Arnn students, and each element represents a significant event of the day's tragedies, from the collapse of the World Trade Center to the heroic actions of the passengers of Flight 93.

Students from Arnn Elementary school at Camp Zama's Sagamihara Housing Area sing "America the Beautiful" during a 9-11 Remembrance Ceremony Thursday. The flag some of the students are holding was designed by Arnn students, and each element represents a significant event of the day's tragedies, from the collapse of the World Trade Center to the heroic actions of the passengers of Flight 93. (Courtesy of U.S. Army)

CAMP ZAMA, Japan — After 40 years, two Zama High School alumni returned to their old school and hometown Tuesday.

Glen S. Fukushima and Harry B. Sewell Jr. met in 1962 at Zama American High School when their families were stationed there. They were friends for two years until Sewell’s family transferred. Fukushima’s family moved the following year.

The two remained in contact and four decades later, they met in Tokyo to visit their old haunts. Fukushima now lives here and Sewell came to Japan from Maryland to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife, Sandra.

Fukushima, Sewell and his wife were invited to the camp by Col. Michael Bosack, deputy chief of staff for host nation activities, for a trip down memory lane.

“We used to bike around Sagamihara at night,” Fukushima recalled. “I remember buying a Sony tape recorder at the PX.”

It was the latest Japanese technology — reel-to-reel tape.

“I had a lot of strong memories. It made a very long-lasting impression on me,” Sewell said.

Fukushima and Sewell visited one of the only remaining buildings from the time they lived there, the Music Theater Workshop building. They toured the high school, which replaced the campus they attended, and met a teacher who was there during their time at Zama.

Both men praised the education they received at their old school.

After Zama, Sewell attended a private school near Washington and found that his education at a Department of Defense school set him ahead of many of his peers.

“It was excellent preparation,” he said.

After Zama, Fukushima moved with his family to California and began school there. He later attended Stanford and Harvard universities.

“I found that in many of the subjects, I was ahead,” Fukushima said.

The alumni said living in Japan enriched their lives. They learned in a diversified classroom while civil-rights struggles took place at home.

“It taught me acceptance and toleration of diversity,” Sewell said.

And they learned flexibility and resilience.

“Being an Army brat forces one to be flexible,” Fukushima said.

Sewell, a real estate lawyer in Kensington, Md., was born in Japan in 1948 while his father worked on Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff. His family returned to Japan in 1962.

Fukushima lived in Tokyo while his father was stationed in South Korea, then moved to Zama in 1962 when his father transferred there.

Today, he lives in Tokyo and is the chairman of Cadence Design System, a company based in Silicon Valley. He sits on the boards of a number of international business and policy organizations. He has a distinguished career and served as president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and deputy assistant U.S. trade representative for Japan and China.

Living abroad with his family prepared him for international business, he said.

The camp has changed substantially since the men lived there. Most of the buildings are different, but “the hills are the same,” Sewell said.

Sewell and Fukushima said the Zama community was much more isolated when they were residents. They didn’t learn Japanese; they were offered only Latin, French or Spanish.

The base community also kept to itself and didn’t interact much with the host nation.

Fukushima and Sewell added they were pleased to see how integrated Zama is today.

“It’s exciting to know there’s been so much progress there,” Sewell said.


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