There are several parts to my column this month I would like to share with you and I apologize upfront for the length of my article.
Congratulations to the Class of 2020! 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. COVID-19 may have curtailed your graduation celebrations, but I hope this does not curtail your motivation to succeed. Also, remember the many Nisei in 1944 did not get to experience this joyous occasion because they were incarcerated at the camps.
Racism is an ongoing issue and a systemic problem we still face today. More than likely you, an acquaintance, a friend, or a family member have been a victim of racism. The NVC condemns the systemic racism that results in violence, injuries, and loss of lives of people across our country.
Each of us has unique and diverse backgrounds that shape our feelings about these events. We won’t all have the same opinion and many of us are struggling to make sense of what is happening. Heartfelt, respectful dialogue is welcomed as a way to truly listen to the varying experiences that people may be having at this time.
In reflecting on what each of us can do to make a difference, I believe it starts with one of our core values – respect. I am committed to respecting others and seeking to understand their perspectives while recognizing that I have lived a life where I have not experienced what so many others experience every day. We all must listen to the people of color in the service and in our communities to understand how their lives and all of our lives have been impacted by systemic and structural racism. We have to see and acknowledge the racism and then work together to produce real, positive change.
It is important that we practice compassion, show kindness to each other, and not let anger turn to hate or fear. We must pull together to listen with empathy, act with integrity, and respect all people.
As the state begins the Safe Start Washington phased response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will work through what opening the Vets Hall and resuming selected activities might look like for the NVC. No guidance on opening up organizations like ours has been published by the Governor and King County, and we may not see much guidance until Phase 3.
The pandemic has taught us that some of our activities can successfully be completed using technology which allows us to volunteer and conduct business remotely. By now I am willing to say a lot of you are probably experts using video teleconference technology.
While many counties are in Phase 2 and King County in Phase 1.5, I ask all of you to adhere to the COVID restrictions and do your part to limit the potential spread of COVID-19.
What did you think of the Virtual Memorial Day Service? I think it was a fantastic and safe way to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country. A huge thank you goes to the following people: Lea Hidaka and her family, Lea created the video for us, and we thank her parents for their support of Lea; to Bob Kiga who was the master mind for the virtual Memorial Day Service; and to NVC Foundation President David Fukuhara for his support and time in making the virtual Memorial Day Service a success.
Look for Tadaima – A Community Virtual Pilgrimage hosted by Japanese American Memorial Pilgrimages, Japanese Arts Network, and the National Park Service Minidoka National Historic Site. This is an online virtual series you can view live from your computer or watch after the pre-recorded dates. These are tentative dates and subject to change but look for the NVC and NVC Foundation on:
- July 4: 442nd RCT Veteran Kim Muramoto Sr. Interview
- July 6: 17th and 82nd Airborne WWII Veteran Tosh Tokunaga Curator's Corner
- July 15: NVC Hall Tour and History
I want to wish the Army Veterans a happy 245th birthday and thank you for your service to deter, defend, and win our nations battles!
Also, thank you to the Anti-Tank Company of the 442nd Regimental Combat for their participation in Operation Overlord on D-Day, 1944. This year we marked the 76th anniversary of D-Day on 6 June.
We also remember our Korean War Veterans. In July, Korean War veterans are remembered during the 67th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. The armistice was signed on 27 July 1953 in Panmunjom, creating a cease fire. The subsequent Korean Defense was established in South Korea.
There is no July newsletter, so I want to wish everyone a happy, fun, and safe 4 July holiday. Independence Day commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, on July 4, 1776 by the second continental congress.
The NVC welcomes all honorably discharged veterans regardless of race, color, creed, beliefs, gender, or sexual orientation to become part of our historic and legacy organization. We recognize all veteran’s contributions and their sacrifices made.
We are proud of our work and accomplishments here at NVC, and the service we have given our nation and our community. We offer a unique contribution of service, and we are grateful to our friends and supporters over the last 75 years. Together we help the NVC carry on the legacy of the Nisei and honor the sacrifices they made for following generations of veterans and families.