to the Editor
Open Letter to the Draft Resisters, Their Supporters and the National JACL
name is Loren M. Ishii. I am currently the commander of Nisei Post 8985 of
the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Sacramento, California. I am a Sansei and
I am a 24-year veteran of the U.S. Army, having served from 1976-1999. I
am of the current generation which is starting to assume prominent
leadership roles within the Japanese American Citizens League and the VFW;
however, unlike my counterparts in the JACL, I am not trying to
rewrite history in a more favorable light for those who refused to
serve their country during World War II.
purpose of my letter is to attempt to draw a closure to the simmering
controversy concerning the proposed formal apology to resisters. As stated
in a resolution initiated by VFW Post 8985 and endorsed by 17 other
Japanese American veterans organizations, we recognize the right of the
now-called Resisters of Conscience to take the stand they took
during World War II and hold no grudges against it. We also have no
problems with the JACLs extending an act of forgiveness and the giving
up of old grudges towards the draft resisters as an act of
veterans attitude is, let bygones be bygones. However, we do take
strong issue with the JACL of today (year 2001) ceremoniously honoring
and apologizing for the actions of National JACL leaders and their
advisors taken 60 years ago during World War II!
if the National JACL goes ahead with the scheduled May 11, 2002 formal
apology ceremony to the draft resisters, they are not speaking for the
4,500-plus members of the 18 Nisei veterans organizations opposed to this
the formal apology is extended to the draft resisters, know that the
4,500-plus veterans belonging to these 18 Nisei veterans organizations are
doing an about face, and turning their backs to the ceremony. The
organizations include the following: Gardena Nisei VFW Post 1961, Gardena,
Calif.; Kazuo Masuda VFW Post 3670, Orange County, Calif.; Asian Pacific
VFW Post 4851, San Diego, Calif.; Golden Gate Nisei Memorial VFW Post
9879, San Francisco; Los Angeles Memorial VFW Post 9938; 6th District
Nisei Memorial VFW Post 9902, Monterey Park, Calif.; Sacramento Nisei
Memorial VFW Post 8985; San Fernando Valley VFW Post 4140, San Fernando,
Calif.; Nisei Liberty VFW Post 5869, Hanford, Calif.; San Jose Nisei VFW
Post 9970; Sierra Nisei VFW Post 8499, Fresno, Calif.; 100th/442nd
Veterans Association Los Angeles; Club 100 of Southern California, Los
Angeles; Disabled American Veterans Nisei Chapter 100, Gardena; MIS
Association of Northern California, San Francisco; MIS Association of
Southern California; Sadao Munemori American Legion Post 321, Los Angeles;
the Japanese American Korean War Veterans Organization, Los Angeles.
JACL will have to live with whatever ramifications that occur from this
action. I will be advising all of our VFW Post members who are also
members of the JACL that once the apology is extended, we as a post cannot
do anything else. We have repeatedly expressed our opposition in
unequivocal terms, but it has apparently fallen on deaf ears.
will be on an individual, case-by-case basis as to whether they want to
continue to support an organization, which has decided to ignore the
concerns of the Nisei veterans in extending this apology.
World War II, 830 heroic Nisei gallantly fought and gave their lives for
the United States of America. I feel the magnificent historical record of
valor displayed by the 100th/442nd in Europe, along with the fine record
of service by the Nisei Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific
Theater of operations, greatly served as one factor in the release of the
Japanese Americans from the internment camps.
know personally, that I cannot belong to an organization that will
disenfranchise a large segment of the Japanese American community and do
nothing to try to heal a festering wound.
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Updated: May 7, 2002