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Archive for February, 2013

Recently I met a nice elderly Japanese couple. The man was in the 442nd division during WWII. We started chit-chatting and it turns out that this nice couple knew my grandparents! The gentleman told me that he was recently awarded a congressional gold medal for his part in the war. He told me to call him because he believes that my grandfather could also still receive a medal (even if he is deceased).

This “meeting” started me thinking about my grandfather, who never spoke one word about the war. Would he believe it an honor to receive this medal? So many years later? Would he be proud? Would he feel it was enough to pay back what the U.S. government took from him? I wish I knew.

As a child, I didn’t know about the internment of all the Japanese Americans during the war, their only crime being of Japanese decent. This elderly gentleman told me how he was interned in Arizona for 3 years before he joined the 442nd division. How everything he owned was taken away from him. How he fought a war for a country that had no consideration of his family’s loss or rights. But, he seemed very proud of this award bestowed upon him by that very same country.

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As I was contemplating calling this gentleman, I decided to look into this award that has been given to many of the Japanese American men who served in WWII. I stumbled upon this “Go For Broke” website. It’s a very interesting website. They have a collection of online oral history videos. There is a registration process that has to be completed, once completed you will receive a sign-in password. I have just registered, eager to see what kind of information they have. I am also considering visiting their “resource center” in Torrance, California.

http://www.goforbroke.org/about_us/about_us.asp

I don’t want my children to repeat the past mistakes of our “forefathers”. In the treasured words of the historical scholar, Lemony Snicket… “Those unable to catalog the past are doomed to repeat it.”
― Lemony Snicket, The End

Until next time, Stephany

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