- JA Memorial to Patriotism Proposal “Under Consideration” by USPS
- New www.TheyDeserveAStamp.org sister campaign website
The nationwide campaign continues for a U.S. commemorative postage stamp that honors the Japanese American World War II veterans. Begun about 10 years ago in California, the campaign has experienced obstacles but perseveres today.
Three Nisei ladies who understand the veterans’ story firsthand began the campaign. Fusa Takahashi is the widow of MIS veteran Kazuo Takahashi. Aiko O. King is a childhood friend of Fusa’s and has many friends who served. Chiz Ohira is the widow of 442 veteran Ted Ohira. Together, their efforts led to six state resolutions of support, thousands of petition signatures, a signature campaign in Bruyeres, France, and letters of support from Congress (2009) and many national organizations. In Fusa’s words, “I had a few classmates and good friends that were killed in action. Aiko and I visited the Japanese American National Museum in L.A in 2005. We felt there really wasn’t much about the Nisei Soldiers on display. That was when I told Aiko we should do something more to make people aware of their military accomplishments. Then I read the Eric Saul speech ‘America at its Best’ that convinced me that having a stamp issued would be great since it is universal in a way that more people would be aware of the accomplishments of the Nisei Soldiers.”
Click here to read Eric Saul’s “America at its Best” speech:
Their original proposal which directly honors the veterans on a stamp is blocked by a Postal Service policy. This policy states, “Stamps will not be issued to honor individual sub-branches, units or divisions of the military,” and includes all veterans groups. Despite repeated requests by campaign supporters to get the Postal Service to revise the policy, Stamp Services Director Mary-Anne Penner stated in September of 2015, that they will not alter this policy. The rule was established due to the difficultly of judging one group of veterans over another. Prior to the policy, at least two stamps honored veterans groups: “Hispanic Americans: A Proud Legacy” (1984), and “Buffalo Soldiers” (1994).
In October of 2015, the Postal Service officially placed one of the founders’ proposals “under consideration,” which is the step prior to issuance. This proposal features the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. The veterans are the cornerstone of the Memorial, so the founders would support a Memorial stamp. This upgraded status is no guarantee of a stamp though. Hundreds of other proposals are also “under consideration.” Therefore it is imperative that we continue to campaign for the stamp.
The founders are embarking on an effort for renewed Congressional support in 2016. We are campaigning for a bipartisan Congressional “Dear Colleague” Letter of Support for the stamp to be sent to Postmaster General Megan Brennan. Contact your Congress Members to sign the letter. Go to www.NiseiStamp.org, and visit us on Facebook, for more details.
There has been recent interest in www.TheyDeserveAStamp.org. Campaign founder Aiko King attended an August 29, 2015 screening of a film by documentary producer Jeff MacIntyre at the Oxnard Library in California. Aiko asked Jeff and others in attendance to help the stamp campaign. Inspired by her words, he set up his own website, www.TheyDeserveAStamp.org. Jeff’s efforts are toward the shared goal of honoring the veterans.
Our campaign continues! There are over 10 years of grassroots efforts across the country and around the world supporting a stamp that honors the Japanese American World War II veterans’ story. We are persevering in the endeavor until it becomes a reality.