Congratulations to the Class of 2019! From May through June, High Schools and Colleges across the nation bid farewell to the graduating seniors as they set off on their own to become members of society. However, many Nisei in 1944 did not get to experience this joyous occasion because they were incarcerated at the camps.
When I listened to Stan Shikuma’s speaker series Tule Lake: Resistance and Relocation, it’s a wonder that after such a traumatic life event the Nisei were able to forge ahead creating a path for the next generations to follow and benefit from their experiences and successes.
I am reminded of Lori Matsukawa speaker series Backstory: Prisoners in Their Own Land, about “Warriors and Resisters” segment. Both faced conditions no others imagined would happen to them in the United States, both were at odds with each other, and both were incarcerated. Even today, there are some who still have not forgotten about their differences. I hope in the near future we can bring both groups together and reconcile the difference and become one again for the future to remember.
Despite the setbacks, many succeeded in life, answering the call to serve in the military, graduating in camp, and then going college, or showing grit by doing what Nisei do best, moving on and doing their best for their families.
With each successive generation we are becoming stronger, more united, and more successful by building on the successes of the Issei and Nisei. Those who chose to serve in the military are adding to the honor woven into the fabric of success started by those who came before us, especially from the Nisei generation.
The NVC was created by Nisei Veterans and their families, the membership, and the community, and it represents the joys and successes of the generations. Our unique organization shows how a group of veterans and their families can overcome hostilities and adversities at home to succeed where others could not --or did not even try -- and remain humble to this day. It is for these reasons and many more that I am grateful to be part of the NVC, an organization with a proud tradition and heritage that shows character, competence, and commitment to our members and community.