95-year-old World War II veteran catches four buses to attend rally in support of Christchurch mosque victims
John Sato was a teenager when he was recruited into the New Zealand army to fight against Japan in World War II.
An image of a 95-year-old man holding onto a police officer and a helpful stranger while attending a rally in support of Christchurch mosque attack victims has gone viral.
The man, identified as World War II veteran John Sato, on Monday revealed how he caught four different buses to reach the venue of the rally on Sunday.
The 95-year-old reportedly made the trip from his home in Howick, Auckland to express his solidarity with the 50 Muslims who lost their lives in the horrific terror attack on March 15.
"I stayed awake quite a lot of the night, and I didn't sleep too well ever since you know, I thought it was so sad. You can feel the suffering of other people," Sato said, according to the Daily Mail.
Sato spends most of his time walking around the neighborhood, doing chores or listening to classical music and opera on the radio and has mostly kept to himself since losing his wife and daughter, according to reports.
Sato said that after he heard of the vigils and memorial events held across the country, he was determined to show his support for the Muslim community.
He reportedly left his house at 10 am and got a bus to visit a mosque in Pakuranga, and after seeing all the tributes and messages of support there, decided to join the rally.
The veteran then took three more buses and joined thousands of people in the rally, saying that he did not mind catching the buses as it was more comfortable than walking.
Sato said that a kind police officer later drove him home after the demonstration and even waited at his driveway until he saw him walking up the stairs.
"That tragedy in Christchurch, look what it brought out in the people, it shows the best of humanity," the war veteran said.
The 95-year-old was a teenager when he was recruited into the New Zealand army to fight against Japan in World War II. He was reportedly one of the two Kiwi-Japanese in the military at the time with a Scottish mother and Japanese father.
Sato also called the Christchurch massacre more than just a "tragedy" and said that racism has no place in New Zealand.
"I think it's such a tragedy and yet, it has the other side. It has brought people together, it doesn't matter what their race is or anything. They're people. They suddenly realize we're all one, we care for each other," the war veteran said.