In 1946, when Nisei veterans returned to their hometown of Seattle, they wasted no time in reclaiming normalcy and civility from the savage jaws of the war. The support network these veterans created among themselves and with their family and friends helped to bring calm and a purpose to the otherwise unbearable chaos of this segregated nation.
The veteran fraternity performed invaluable service to each other and to the Japanese American Community. The non-veteran family members, spouses and friends contributed greatly to the pacification of these warriors. The Nisei Veterans Committee was born with the auxiliary organization of wives, families and supporters.
In 1987, the Nisei Veterans Committee received its non-profit tax-exempt status as a veteran welfare organization. And in 2001, the Auxiliary was disbanded to form the NVC Foundation. In 2005, the Foundation was granted its own non-profit, tax-exempt status. Together, the Nisei Veterans Committee and the NVC Foundation have been actively telling the Japanese American Experience story, to honor the legacy and to educate the future. But we must not lose the focus of the veteran fraternity.
Times change and memories fade. As the Nisei generation dwindles, the war, the injustice and the reconciliation stories wither away as well. The Experience is destined to be smothered in history, locked away in the archives. The Japanese American Experience will be an answer “blowing in the wind”.
A veteran can adapt easily back into the society, but the wounds of war are deep. Like the Black Holes of the Universe, it swallows hopes. The Time passes and normalcy and happiness will come again, but still the abyss is only a flash away. Even the spouse and the family will not know.
The consolation for this condition is with the comradeship and presence of others who shares this torment. The Nikkei Veteran experience didn’t end in 1946. The NVC veteran members have experienced many conflicts since the WWII, the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, Granada, the Persian Gulf War, Iraq War, and Afghanistan War. The new Nikkei Veterans need the same compassion that the Nisei Veterans longed for.
The Nisei Veterans Committee’s role is clear. Our doors must remain open for veterans, as envisioned by the Nisei veterans of WWII, as prescribed in the NVC Constitution, “…desiring to associate ourselves more closely in recognition of our mutual comradeship in order to form a wholly non-political, non-sectarian and non-affiliated organization, free and independent of any outside influence, based upon the principles of democracy and freedom from discrimination, dedicated to the promotion and furtherance of the cause of American Nikkei Veterans and maintenance in the future of the high reputation already gained……”
This is the cause I believe in and aimed to serve as the Commander of the NVC. And I call to veterans of all era, come and see who we are. You have friends here.