By Bob Nakamura, American Legion member, Cathay Post 186, District 1, State of Washington.
On Feb. 19, 2014, the Washington State Legislature held an event to recognize the hardships and life faced by Japanese and Japanese-Americans internment during World War II. The event was attended by Bob Nakamura, American Legion member of the Cathay Post 186 in Seattle, the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee (NVC) and its Foundation (NVCF) members, and members of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL).
The event also honored veterans that served in the U.S. Army during this time of hardship. Two of our U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service (MIS) veterans, Nisei Hiro Nishimura and Katz Okamoto, were specifically recognized.
The Congressional Gold Medal had been presented to these Nisei soldiers in recognition of their "exceptional service, sacrifice and loyalty to America."
There were nearly 19,000 Nisei or second generation, Americans of Japanese descent, who had served with the U.S Army’s famed and highly decorated 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and other units during World War II. The 442nd RCT, and the MIS units were the highly decorated unit of any organization that served in the history of the U.S. military.
We are proud that every soldier of these units has shown their loyalty, honor and the exceptional service to sacrifice their own lives to prove that they are American and love of their country is profound, knowing that are also proud of their ancestral heritage.
This annual Day of Remembrance event in Olympia, marking the anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. It was this now infamous document that led to the evacuation and incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Japanese and Japanese-Americans to internment camps from throughout West Coast.
In closing, lest we remember to learn from history with striving efforts not to repeat this uneventful treatment to our fellow Americans by knowing our past, who we are and teaching of those lessons of history and contributions, sacrifices made in defense of our country and way of life, and what we have to offer to the present and future generations.