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2021 Day of Affirmation 

JAVA President Gerald Yamada gives address at the 2021 Day of Affirmation, National WWII Memorial. Photo: Nicole Yamada.


DAY OF AFFIRMATION

July 15, 2021

National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC

Gerald Yamada, JAVA President 

Opening Remarks

(As Prepared)


Thirty-three thousand Japanese Americans served in the US military during World War II.  Eight hundred Japanese American soldiers died defending America’s freedoms.  Those 800 are forever memorialized by eight of the gold stars on the Price of Freedom Wall behind me. 

The Japanese American men and women, who served, answered the call and shouldered their responsibility as citizens of the United States of America.  They served with personal courage, in the face of prejudice at home, and the government’s distrust of their ethnicity. 

On July 15, 1946, President Harry S. Truman saluted returning Japanese American soldiers, on the White House Ellipse, by stating that "You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice – and you have won.  Keep up that fight, and we will continue to win….”

Today marks the 75th anniversary of President Truman’s affirmation that all the Japanese American soldiers, men and women, who served during World War II are America’s heroes, removing any doubt that they are loyal citizens of the United States of America. 

The Japanese American Veterans Association is proud to present this wreath to honor the legacy forged by the valor and patriotism of the Japanese American men and women who served during World War II. 

Our wreath incorporates the image of the Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Commemorative Stamp that was issued in June.  The image was provided by the US Postal Service. 

The stamp is our Nation’s way of saying “Thank you for your service and devotion to protecting America’s freedoms.”

The military escort for the wreath is LT Caitlin Takahashi-Pipkin.

LT Takahashi-Pipkin is a medical doctor who is currently completing General Surgery Residency at East Carolina University in North Carolina.  She is a member of the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. 

She is a granddaughter of Kazuo and Fusa Takahashi. 

Kazuo Takahashi served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II and passed away in 1977. 

We have two wreath bearers.  One is Tyler Franklin.  Mr. Franklin currently works for Intuitive, a surgical robotics company, in Sunnyvale, CA. 

Like our military escort, he is also related to Kazuo and Fusa Takahashi.  He is their grandson.

Fusa Takahashi is one of the original co-founders of the Stamp Our Story Campaign that successfully obtained the U.S. Postmaster General’s approval of the Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Commemorative Stamp. 

The stamp campaign was started in 2005 by Fusa Takahashi with Chiz Ohira and Aiko O. King.  Wayne Osako joined the campaign in 2006. 

We are indebted to this team for their vision, perseverance, and dedication for obtaining this monumental achievement.

Ms. Michelle Amano is the other wreath bearer. 

Ms. Amano is the granddaughter of Mike Masaoka, whose advocacy work with the government allowed Japanese Americans to serve again in the U.S. military and resulted in the creation, in 1943, of the 442nd RCT, a highly decorated, segregated all Japanese American combat unit. 

Mike Masaoka was one of the first to volunteer to serve in the 442nd RCT, together with his four brothers, one of whom was killed in action. 

Let’s have the wreath presentation proceed.



Day of Affirmation Wreath at Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo: Nicole Yamada.

In honor of those who served, I ask you to face the Freedom Wall, bow your heads, and observe a moment of silence.

MOMENT OF SILENCE


Moment of Silence at Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC. L to R: Tyler Franklin, LT Caitlin Takahashi-Pipkin, MC, USNR, and Michelle Amano. Photo: Nicole Yamada.


For all those who served, thank you for your service. 

SOUNDING OF TAPS


SSG John Powlison, U.S. Army Band. National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo: Nicole Yamada.


That concludes our program.  Thank you for joining us on this second annual Day of Affirmation.   


L to R: Michelle Amano, LT Caitlin Takahashi-Pipkin, MC, USNR, Gerald Yamada, Tyler Franklin, Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC.  Photo: Nicole Yamada.


Click here to watch a slide show of the 2021 Day of Affirmation.

Click here to read the 2021 Day of Affirmation Press Release.


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