In honor of Asian Pacific Heritage Month and Memorial Day, many APA veterans are still unsung heroes in their 60’s, even 90’s. According to a recent U.S. Census release, there are 258,183 Asian military veterans, with about one in three veterans was 65 years and older (and this number does not include many multiracial Asian veterans).
The animated short film AN AMERICAN HERO: FRANK NISHIMURA tells the story of a World War II veteran and is based on the graphic novel “Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers,” written by Lawrence Matsuda and illustrated by Matt Sasaki. Frank grew up in Seattle where his family ran hotels, including the Puget Sound Hotel. With Executive Order 9066, which set in motion the expulsion of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, the Nishimuras moved to Eastern Washington, avoiding imprisonment. Frank volunteered to join the U.S Army as part of the 442nd/100th Battalion, where he made new friends and strong connections. Frank saw heavy combat in France and Italy and was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, French National Order of the Legion of Honor, and the Congressional Gold Medal.
“The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration,” Dr. Blight wrote in a 2011 essay for The New York Times. “The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.”
VETERANS of Color