Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go for what?

Who doesn't know what 'go for broke' means, even if it's not used every day? There was a time when it was a weird, unknown slang phrase, which is how it became the motto of the 442nd, the Japanese American infantry regiment of WWII that became the most decorated unit of its size in American military history.  These men came from the internment camps and Hawaii, leaving their incarcerated families behind, to fight to defend the rights and privileges that they were being denied. Their heroism is really one of the remarkable stories of the war, and of civil rights history.

I was honored to meet some veterans who were hanging out by the Go for Broke monument in Little Tokyo, L.A. That's my photo with one of them, standing in the half-moon. To make it even better, the photo was taken by a vet who served with the Military Intelligence Services in the Pacific, which is an even more untold story.

When I say 'hanging out,' of course I mean volunteering to educate and raise awareness of the Go for Broke Foundation, which does wonderful oral history work.  They hope to raise the funds to build a facility behind the monument, which would put it within a stone's throw of the Japanese American National Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art's outpost.  It would be a great addition to that area.  Alas, like all other fundraising efforts, they've been hit hard.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Man, those war heroes get the hottest young Korean trophy wives, though.

Just kidding. But seriously, really great cause and a seriously neglected historical subject, I suppose in direct relation to how much we still don't talk about the internment in any national or serious way.