[Editor’s Note: Drew is a 2019 recipient of the NVCF Shiro Kashino Memorial Scholarship. She is the daughter of Bernadette and Jay Deguchi and the granddaughter of Jean and NVC member Tom Deguchi.]
The Nisei Veterans legacy is so many things. Even though I’m fourth generation, it is still informing me of who I am and who we are as a generation. I find it ironic that an organization built around war and death provides its greatest legacy in teaching us how to live. These great men and women exemplified bravery, honor, tradition, loyalty, perseverance, compassion, and many more characteristics that not only made them great soldiers, but even better people.
My generation is currently at a crossroads. Our country is still divided today by politics and race. We are facing similar struggles, fears, and beliefs that the Nisei faced in the 1940’s. I have the luxury to look back and see how honorably they handled themselves both in war and in life. I have heard about the struggles and battles that the Nisei fought on both the fields of war and in their own country when they returned. I have seen the perseverance they showed in creating new businesses and the loyalty provided in their workplace. I have appreciated their ability to carry on cultural traditions in a new country and the compassion that they provided to each other and to people of different colors and religions. The Nisei Vets have provided so much for my generation and the ones before me. They have provided the freedom to allow me to live an amazing life. It is their experiences and fortitude that inspire and push me to be a better person. This I believe is their greatest legacy to me.