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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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Just wanted to drop a note and let all my faithful readers know that I’m still alive. I’ve been taking a short break from grandpa’s letters and this blog. The kids are all back in school, I no longer feel guilty about “hogging” the computer all the time and we are settled back into our usual school year routine.

I just checked my “site stats” and have almost 1100 views on my page since I started it in June. Just knowing that people are interested in this subject really gets my wheels turning!

I’m down to the last two letters from my Grandpa to Edith. It’s a bitter sweet ending and I’m not sure if I want it to end just yet. The last letter ends kind of abrubtly. No “goodbye”, no “I won’t be writing anymore”, and definitely no ” I found myself a wife and won’t be writing anymore”. I sit back and wonder what Edith must have thought when she didn’t receive a letter after one month, after two months, after three months…never again. After being a faithful penpal to my grandfather for over 3 years the sudden stop must have been quite a shock. I wonder if the fact that she didn’t have closure caused her to never marry or maybe it wasn’t that big of a deal to her, I don’t know.  I do know what happened after his last letter to Edith because I have his letters to my grandmother to fill in his side of the story.

Grandpa’s story continues even after his letters to Edith or my Grandma end,  his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are proof of that!

Jusqu’à la prochaine fois ! (Till next time!)

Stephany

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I’m still here. Just got rid of the kids for the day so the computer is finally free. When do they go back to school again? 🙂

So, started working on the letters again and realized that Letter number 24 to Edith is dated July 16,1944 almost exactly 67 years ago. Reading grandpas letters, in the middle of this heatwave while scratching a mosquito bite on my leg,  I was really able to empathize with his complaints of the heat and humidity as well as the mosquito problem. At least we have central air, I don’t think I would last long without it.

Well, it is now Sept. 1944 and grandpa was somewhere in Australia a month ago and now is “back up in Dutch New Guinea”. I keep reading these letters and going “Really? Grandpa never mentioned that”. Makes me think about all the stories I have to tell my kids but never have the time. I started journals for each of the kids when they were babies with things about them that I find interesting and funny, maybe I’ll add things about my life so they can read them when I’m gone.

Since working on these letters, I’ve really started to think about what I’m leaving behind…I think there are a couple of things I might wanna get rid of before I go…;)

I’ll keep posting new pics and things as I go…(if I can get these kids off of the computer long enough!)

Steph

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Share

Hello,

So just an FYI that you can share posts to this blog via twitter and/or facebook now…Also, if you see a post you like, hit the “like” button at the bottom of the page (you’ll have to open the post first by clicking on the title of the post)…I feel so official now! 😉

Stephany

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As I go through my grandpas letters to Edith I’m finding out a lot about grandpa and the times from when his letters were written. I didn’t know my grandfather was also teaching himself french while enlisted. He adds cute little french phrases to his letters to Edith, which I had to look up! He also throw’s in a japanese word here and there. I’ve learned what a tarpon is in case I ever decide to go fishing…and, I’m only a quarter of the way through his letters! Every day I get up, try to finish stuff around the house so I can concentrate on this project. I feel bad for my kids because they’re on summer break and I’ve been consumed with these letters and blog. Maybe one day when they’re older they’ll appreciate all the work I’m doing. Maybe not…;) I can’t wait to see what else I can find!

a bientot! (see you later)

Stephany

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Hello,

I’ve added a page to include the titles of books that grandpa read during the war. Also added a timeline page beginning from grandpas enlisted date and will be adding to it as I go along. Will be adding links and photos to the timeline page as I go along as well… I’m really learning alot about the war and my grandfather. This is really an enjoyable ride…hope you all are learning and enjoying with me!

Stephany

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So, I just got home from working 2 twelve hour shifts in the ER. Needless to say I’m exhausted. I’m finding that doing this blog and working on putting this book together is going to take me an awful long time at this rate. But, seeing how excited everyone has been about me starting this blog and getting so much support from everyone, I have become really motivated. I just wanted to let everyone know that I haven’t stopped working on this, just taking a “break” for my paying job. I have a few days off coming and plan on doing a lot of work so keep checking for new posts and pictures.

BTW I had a patient today ask me, when I was leaving his room, if I knew about the South Pacific . I turned around and said “Yes I do!!” He then went on to tell me about his time spent on an island near Fiji during the 1950’s and the work he did there while in the military. We only spoke for a couple of minutes but I could see how much he wanted to share his story with someone. I’d like to think that my grandpa would have been as excited to share his own story.

Stephany

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