US Postal Service unveils stamp honoring Japanese American WWII veterans


The U.S. Postal Service will honor Japanese American veterans with the Go For Broke: Japanese Americans Soldiers of WWII commemorative stamp. Second-generation Japanese Americans, also known as nisei, formed one of the most distinguished American fighting units of World War II. These troops were the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team. Their motto was “Go for Broke.”

“The Nisei soldiers were exemplary role models who displayed perseverance, bravery and aloha. This stamp includes their motto ‘Go for Broke,’ which became the basis for their teamwork and victories on the battlefield,” Democratic state Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura told The Garden Island on Saturday.

The stamp features Shiroku “Whitey” Yamamoto from the Big Island, a member of the combat team. Artist Antonio AlcalaIt designed the stamp based on a photograph taken in 1944.

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” said Lynn Heirakuji, president of the Nisei Veterans Legacy and co-chair of the Stamp Our Story Hawaii Organizing Committee. “There is a big story behind this little stamp. But it’s more than a history lesson. It holds powerful lessons for this and future generations.”

Thousands of Nisei Fought in the US Army

Heirakuji, whose father was a WWII veteran and also a member of the combat team, said this is the first U.S. Postal stamp to feature an Asian American solider and bring recognition to about 33,000 Japanese American soldiers who fought in the U.S. Army during the war.

He also credited the effort to the Stamp Our Story campaign. It started in 2005 by three Japanese American women from California — Fusa Takahashi, Aiko O. King, and the late Chiz Ohira.

The USPS announced that the stamp is being issued as a forever stamp. Hence, it will always be equal in value to the current First Class mail one-ounce (28-gram) price. The stamp is available at all post offices, and online.

“This stamp not only honors the bravery and dedication of our Japanese American Nisei soldiers; it reminds us of our obligation to carry on the legacy of these soldiers to fight for a more equal and just world,. Democratic state Rep. Della Au Belatti said. (continue reading)

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