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‘Bravery and sacrifice’

USPS honors Japanese American soldiers

Participants gather near a Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII stamp image at the June 4 special dedication ceremony in Honolulu. From left are Hawaii first lady Dawn Amano Ige, Gov. David Ige and Hawaii District Manager Eileen Veach.

The Postal Service honored one of the Second World War’s most distinguished fighting units last week when the organization dedicated the Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of WWII stamp.

The Forever stamp commemorates the second-generation Japanese Americans, also known as nisei, who formed the Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, whose motto was “Go for Broke.”

“As a military veteran, I have the greatest appreciation for the more than 33,000 nisei … that served our nation during World War II,” Donald L. Moak, a member of the USPS Board of Governors, said during a June 3 virtual ceremony that streamed on Facebook and Twitter.

“Today, with this stamp, the Postal Service recognizes the contributions that Japanese American soldiers made while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II,” Moak said.

While nisei were subjected to prejudice because of their heritage after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, they were later enlisted by the Army to serve as translators, interpreters and interrogators in the Pacific theater for the Military Intelligence Service.

Nisei also served in the 1399th Engineering Construction Battalion, while more than 100 nisei woman served in the Women’s Army Corp.

Designed by Antonio Alcalá, the Go for Broke stamp — available at Post Offices and — is based on a photograph taken in France by a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team at a railroad station in 1944.

During a series of two dedication ceremonies in Hawaii last week, Gov. David Ige, first lady Dawn Ige, Kaua‘i County Mayor Derek Kawakami and others highlighted the special role nisei played in Aloha State history.

“Bravery and sacrifice on the battlefields in Europe and the Pacific is just part of the story of the nisei soldiers,” Lynn Heirakuji, co-chair of the Hawaii Stamp Organizing Committee, said at a June 4 event in Honolulu.

“When they returned from the war to Hawaii, they helped break down societal barriers, take a stand against discrimination, instill cultural pride, and as a result, created greater opportunities for future generations. Today, we all benefit from their hard work. The little stamp serves as a reminder to continue to do what the nisei soldiers started generations ago.”