By Isabelle Roetcisoender, AsAmNews Intern
The U.S. Postal Service today officially dedicated new stamps in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APAHM).
The forever stamps will commemorate one of the most distinguished fighting units during WWII: the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team whose motto was, “Go For Broke”.
“Go for Broke” is a slang term that means all in, to risk everything, or to make an all out effort to win.
Second generation Japanese Americans, also known as Nisei, were subject to prejudice and discrimination after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Nisei were American citizens but due to distrust many were denied basic human rights and sent to concentration camps. Despite these obstacles over 33,000 Japanese Americans served during WWII. Among these 33,000, many Nisei served as interpreters, translators and interrogators in the Pacific Theater Military Intelligence Service (MIS).
“Part of it is fighting for the USA and another part of it is to show that we were loyal to the USA,” said Yoshio Nakamura, member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during a Facebook Live event. “And uh, at that particular time the propaganda against Japanese was very very severe and we were painted with the same brush. You know, Japanese Americans were-even though they didn’t recognize we had American hearts they looked at our face and said you’re part of the Imperial forces. So uh, anyways, it took awhile for the U.S. government to recognize that we should be allowed to participate in the war.”
Designer Antonio Alcalá created the forever stamp. The stamp is based on a photograph of a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team taken in 1944 at a railroad station in France. You can order the stamps from the USPS website.
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