During my tenure as the Commander of the NVC, I was able to confront a ghost from my past. Growing up in Oklahoma, I heard about the JA internment, but people around me said it was just a cost of war. It bothered me, but I had very little information about the incarceration and people around me were unaffected. When I became the Commander, I met the people impacted by the injustice. Of course my first impression was that I’m glad everyone looks all right. But the indignity suffered by the JA haunted me.
And then the anger turned to hope as I learned about actions of the government to atone for the injustice with the enactment of Redress Legislation and the Congressional Gold Medal. Washington State legislators acknowledge the injustice of Executive Order 9066 and hold a Day of Remembrance to commemorate it in the State Capital. Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos, Senator Bob Hasegawa, JACL, Nikkei Concerns, the NVC and the NVC Foundation all participated in the Day of Remembrance in Olympia. Many state and local community leaders, along with the United States Military leadership support the legacy of the Nisei Veterans. In Washington State, the Japanese American Experience is recognized and honored by many, but not by all. We have not reached out to many parts of the state. And Washington State is only one of fifty.
The Nisei generation has given us the legacy of the Japanese American Experience. What legacy should the Sansei leave?
The Nisei Veterans Committee is a veteran organization with an educational mission: to share the story of the Nisei soldiers as part of the Japanese American Experience. The founding Nisei veterans are dwindling. But in the true calling of the Brotherhood, younger veterans continue to carry on the mission. Since the World War II Nisei veterans, new Japanese American veterans have served the country in the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Granada conflict and the Iraq war. We are currently engaged against the Jihad in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
There are JA soldiers serving the military today, right now. They, and all veterans, as with the World War II veterans, are driven by the same patriotism and the desire to serve the Constitution of the United States. I have served in Viet Nam War and my son has served in the Iraq War. The Nisei Veterans Committee members have a duty and a responsibility to support all veterans as the founding Nisei veterans have intended for the NVC mission.
Yuzo Tokita, a decorated Viet Nam War Fighter Pilot, has come out of retirement and will carry on the honor for the Brotherhood as the new Commander. I look forward to supporting him on his journey of honoring the legacy of the NVC. And I ask all of you to support him in this NVC Mission.