JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION
1666 K Street,NW, Suite 500, Washington,D.C. 20006, c/o Gerald Yamada, Esq.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vol. II
January 2, 2008 No. 50
CONTACT: Wayne Osako, 714-534-5139; firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Shima (301-987-6746; email@example.com
FOR PHOTOS: Please go to JAVA Website, www.javadc.org, scroll to Press Release. Pictures embedded in below titled article.
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NISEI VETERANS POSTAGE STAMP CAMPAIGN GAINS WIDE SUPPORT. JEWISH CENTER IN LOS ANGELES HELD PRESS CONFERENCE TO PLEDGE SUPPORT. SENATOR AKAKA ENDORSES CAMPAIGN.
Japanese American Veterans Association
The commemorative postage stamp campaign to honor Nisei World War II soldiers has collected over 10,000 written petitions and over 6,000 sign-ups online, letters of support from Members of Congress, veterans and civic organizations, and resolutions from city legislatures. Wayne Osako, campaign coordinator, said “this is an encouraging development and appreciates the efforts of supporters. He hopes other supporters could join the campaign to expand the lists of resolutions, written petitions and online signups.”
On December 20, 2007, the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, one of the largest Jewish human rights organizations, held a press conference to pledge support for the Nisei WW II Veterans Commemorative Stamp Campaign. On January 10, 2008, a Hawaii State press conference is planned at the Governor’s Palace in Honolulu, Hawaii, to announce the drive for a Hawaii state resolution. California and Illinois will be following with their own resolutions. A Congressional Letter of Support for the stamp is currently circulating in the US Congress and 19 Members of Congress have subscribed. Readers are urged to ask their members of congress to support this campaign. These efforts are directed to the US Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee which meets on January 24-25, 2008 to formally consider the Nisei WWII Veterans Stamp proposal.
“President Truman said it best, Nisei soldiers fought prejudice at home and on the battlefield, and won. A stamp in their honor would be a fitting tribute to these uniquely American heroes," said Senator Daniel K. Akaka.
Started four years ago as a grassroots project long supported by the Japanese American Veterans Association under Grant Ichikawa, the campaign has since become a nationwide effort to honor the 25,000 Japanese Americans who served in the US armed forces overseas and at home, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, the US Army Women’s Auxiliary Corps (WAC) and the Nurse Corps, and the men who served as gunners in the US Army Air Corps. Osako said these veterans are now in their 80’s and 90’s and it is the Campaign’s goal to get the Nisei stamp approved while they are still living. He added that commemorative postage stamps have been issued to other minority veterans, such as the Buffalo Soldiers (92nd African American Infantry Division) and the Hispanic American veterans. A Tuskegee Airmen stamp proposal is currently under consideration by the Postal Service as well.
Japanese Americans have received highly welcomed support from the Jewish community stemming from long term associations. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, is a good friend of one veteran of the 522nd Field Artillery, which liberated a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camps in Germany. Rabbi Cooper said “in supporting the stamp campaign you are honoring the Nisei soldiers and educating millions of people on the Nisei WW II experience.” Rabbi Shamuel Novack of Jacksonville, Florida, approached the Wiesenthal Center for assistance after he joined the campaign because his grandfather was an officer of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a separated Nisei unit.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, CA
Photo courtesy of: Go For Broke National Education Center
Several veterans attended the press conference. Don Seki, who lost an arm in the campaign to save the 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment, 36th (Texas) Infantry Division, which was trapped and appeared doomed for annihilation by German forces in the Vosges mountains of eastern France in 1944, said the postage stamp will convey the message of how the Nisei fought the enemy abroad and prejudice on the home front. Grant Hirabayashi, a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, a Ranger Hall of Fame inductee, and member of the famed Merrill’s Marauders which fought behind enemy lines in Burma, said “a commemorative Nisei postage stamp will signify Japanese Americans’ commitment to preserve Freedom.” Nisei served in the MIS as interrogators, translators, communications interceptors, cave flushers, and infantrymen/intelligence operatives.
For information, access the campaign website (www.niseistamp.org), call 714-534-5139, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters of support and petitions may be sent to:
Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee
ATTN: Mr. Terrence McCaffrey
USPS – Stamp Development
1735 North Lynn St, Suite 5013
Arlington, VA 22209-6432
Also, please send a copy to Wayne Osako; 11422 Presidio Way; Garden Grove, CA 92840. 30