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ESSAY: Kaci Yoshimura

by Kaci Yoshimura
April 2021, Volume 71, Issue 4

NVCF Shiro Kashino Memorial Scholarship Recipient

[NOTE: Kaci Yoshimura is the daughter of Teri and Ross Yoshimura and the great niece to Joe, Carl and Ray Tsuchiya.  She is a student at Point Loma Nazarene University and maintains a 3.941 g.p.a. She is majoring in Psychology and Speech and Language Pathology.]

The Nisei Veteran’s Legacy means sacrifice. Living in this century, I have been so fortunate to live in a world that is not imprisoning me just because I am Japanese. That being said, I will never be able to fathom the sacrifice the Nisei made for me, but I can continue their legacy. As a lot of Nisei Veterans are leaving us, I feel a responsibility to remember and share their memory and service to our nation. Their hearts to serve a country that did not call them their own while incarcerating their mothers and daughters is truly admirable. They faced immense adversity and discrimination for the freedom of my generation, and I am forever grateful to them. 

Growing up I heard stories from my grandfather and aunts about my family’s experience after WWII. These stories touched on the injustice and suffering, but I didn’t internalize just how grave their meanings were. It was not until the summer of 2018, when my whole family went on a pilgrimage to the Minidoka War Relocation Center where my grandfather and his family were incarcerated. There we saw the barracks where they lived and listened to seminars from the survivors. I was heartbroken for everyone who suffered, angry at this country’s blindness, and determined to keep this history alive. 

That pilgrimage changed my perspective of sacrifice and freedom. Hearing about the men who enlisted to serve a country that betrayed them, redefined the sacrifice I once knew. These heroes deserve the utmost honor and remembrance as we live in a free world. It is in times like these where we see injustices recurring, that we need to remember our Nisei ancestors and stop the cycle of racial prejudice.