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Wish of a Lifetime from AARP

Toki’s Healing Family Reunion

Meet Toki, a devoted brother

Four-year-old Toki Endo was playing on the sidewalk with a toy bus outside his Salinas, CA, home when his six-year-old brother Nori kicked it away and said, “We’re leaving.”

The brief moment of brotherly indifference began a journey whose first stop was the darkness of a WW2 internment camp. Life behind guarded barbed wire in the harsh Arizona sun represented a betrayal. The Endos were American citizens confined to a prison camp they did not choose and a life they did not want because of their Japanese ethnicity.

The experience stuck with the Endo brothers throughout their lives, as did their unyielding bond with one another. They were each other’s pillars of strength, resilience, and unwavering solidarity.

Later, they would serve the country that had denied them their freedom—Nori as an attack pilot in the Navy and Toki as a B-52 navigator and Electronic Warfare Officer in the Air Force.

Separated by the distance and requirements of their assignments, they found new ways to support one another. Upon learning Toki had been ejected from his aircraft and lost his survival kit, Nori designed a new vest to fit his slight build. A design that Toki wore for several years while flying combat missions until the Air Force started making their own.

They would have decorated careers as aviators, flying hundreds of missions over Vietnam, both earning Distinguished Flying Crosses, Air Medals, and other accolades.

The obligations of military duty would see the bonds of brotherhood gradually weaken. Their separation was not willful, but a passive drift influenced by age, careers, and the cost of health effects from exposure to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange while in Vietnam. When Nori passed away in 2013, Toki sat among friends and family, listening to previously untold stories.

Amidst the gathering, a sense of disconnection settled upon him, and he wondered which of his own stories remained unknown to his brother’s family, a feeling that would only intensify with the passing years.

At long last, through the generous assistance of individuals like you, the two families will reunite for Toki’s wish of a lifetime later this summer.

Ten family members representing four generations will converge on California for a week of storytelling and connection—the perfect antidote to 87-year-old Toki’s feelings of disconnection and isolation.

Your support is a tribute to the Endo brothers and other families like them. Their laughter will mingle with tears, and Toki Endo will find satisfaction in his brotherly journey.

From the sidewalk outside their California home through the arid expanse of the Arizona desert and high above the war-torn skies of Vietnam, their paths will unite once more – the torch of brotherhood passing to the next generation a legacy unbroken and spirits interwoven.

Donate in Toki’s honor

Your gift today will help Toki’s wish become a reality, so please don’t wait. Donate now!

Meet veterans with wishes that need support

In their later years, veterans face barriers to pursuing happiness, including physical and mental health challenges, financial vulnerability, limited social networks, coping with traumatic memories, and more.

Yet, we know the life-changing power of a fulfilled wish! Discover the stories of four veterans and how you can change their lives forever.

John wants to visit his beloved hometown on Memorial Day weekend.

Carolyn yearns to fulfill a dream from her USAF meteorological career.

Roy dreams of exploring his Cherokee heritage with his granddaughters.


Greg wants to pay his respects at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC.

Help share Toki’s profound story