Oregon Senate Bill (SB) 1509 provided that a portion of Route 35 be known as “Oregon Nisei Veterans WWII Memorial Highway.” Last month SB 1509 passed the Oregon Senate and House and is on its way to the Governor for signature.
Through Vice Commander Dale Kaku, Dr. Linda Tamura requested NVC to provide a letter of support for SB 1509 as it was making its way through the Senate and House.
NVC provided written testimony for the record during the meeting of the House Committee on Veterans and Emergency Management.
One letter of support authored by Major Mike Allegre, Oregon Air National Guard (retired), captured my attention. He stated,
“These brave Japanese American soldiers are often overlooked or discounted in WWII history…Sadly, we learned several years ago that my grandpa Buckley was one of many Post 22 members who were initially against our neighbors being recognized on that wall as veterans serving in WWII. A post-war change of heart led Gene Buckley to realize he was wrong…He campaigned for all Japanese American veterans to be allowed to join the American Legion and soon stood alongside these men and ensured his neighbors and other Nisei were properly honored and recognized for their service…By renaming State highway 35…We …keep their history and memories alive for all generations….”
NVC’s written testimony states that the Nisei soldier fought for a better tomorrow. I believe Major Allegre’s testimony validates this.
Note: Dr. Linda Tamura is a Professor Emerita of Education, Willamette University from Hood River, OR, and author of the book titled, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence: Coming Home to Hood River (University of Washington Press)