STAMP RELEASE DEDICATIONS
NOTE: PLEASE CONTINUE TO CHECK WITH THIS WEBSITE FOR UPDATES ON DEDICATIONS
UPDATE (3/24/21): The U.S. Postal Service informed us today that dedications must take place a day after the first day of issue. Therefore the first day a dedication can occur is June 4th.
Stamp Campaign Update, 3/23/21
The Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp Dedications
“Always be proud of your heritage.”
-Fusa Takahashi (93), Stamp Our Story Founder/Co Chair, and Go For Broke veteran widow
The U.S. Postal Service has announced that the official release date of the Go For Broke Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Forever Stamp is Thursday, June 3rd, 2021. The first city of issue for the stamp will be Los Angeles, California, where Ms. Takahashi and her friends started the stamp campaign in 2005.
The little stamp with a big story cannot come soon enough for its supporters, especially in light of the rise in anti-Asian American violence and hate crimes.
The USPS is currently working with the Stamp Our Story Campaign and community partners that rallied for the stamp such as the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA), Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), National Japanese American Memorial Foundation (NJAMF), Nisei Veterans Legacy, and Friends of Minidoka, among many others. The goal is to collaborate and assist the USPS in their national rollout for the stamp.
A USPS national video dedication is being made, and special regional stamp dedications are being developed across the nation to commemorate the inspiring American legacy of the Go For Broke Soldiers. Organizers seek to celebrate the release of the historic stamp, which is the first to feature the image of an Asian American soldier. The stamp is also one of only a few in US postal history to feature a historical Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) subject.
Stamp Our Story is the coalition of family and friends of the Nisei soldiers that backed the proposal for the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp, and includes the many organizations that have supported the cause. Nisei is the term for American citizens whose parents immigrated from Japan. Due to public petitioning by Stamp Our Story, a multitude of lawmakers across the country from both sides of the aisle sent letters of support for the proposal to the Postmaster General, that included 91 congressional lawmakers, three governors, seven state assemblies, and numerous mayors and local officials. The campaign even received the overseas support from French citizens and officials in areas that were liberated from German forces by the Go For Broke Soldiers.
Formerly called the Nisei World War II Soldiers Stamp Campaign, the effort was started in 2005 by three California Nisei women who each endured incarceration in US detention camps during the war: Fusa Takahashi (93) of Granite Bay, Aiko O. King (93) of Camarillo, and the late Chiz Ohira of Gardena. Two of the women are widows of U.S. Army Go For Broke veterans of the war. Ms. Takahashi’s husband, Kazuo, was a Military Intelligence Service veteran from San Francisco, California. Ms. Ohira’s husband, Ted, was a 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran from Makaweli, Hawaii. Ms. Takahashi and Ms. King grew up in California’s Central Valley farming communities, and they became lifelong friends in the Amache, Colorado camp. Ms. Ohira came from the prominent Masao Akiyama Family who owned and operated the well-known “KM Aikyama Company,” a general store in the heart of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. She and her family would be forcibly removed and sent to the Poston, Arizona camp during the war.
“In the past, our founders have each expressed their wish that the stamp bring people and organizations together to remember and to honor what the Go For Broke Soldiers accomplished, and to be reminded of their American legacy that impacts us all today,” said Stamp Our Story Co-Chair Wayne Osako, who has been helping the campaign founders since 2006. His Nisei parents were confined as children in the Heart Mountain and Jerome incarceration camps, and a number of his relatives served in the 100th/442nd RCT, MIS, and WAC. “Organizations such as JAVA, GFBNEC, JACL, NJAMF, and the many veterans family organizations have been friends of the campaign and we are forever grateful. We would like to highlight that campaign co-founder Aiko King was an avid Ventura JACL member, whose chapter strongly supported the campaign. Also, the late Chiz Ohira, our co-founder, was also a founding member of GFBNEC, and her husband, Ted Ohira, was a founding GFBNEC board member,” Osako emphasized.
Some dedications are planned to be virtual, and some in-person, though limited due to the ongoing pandemic. Outreach to communities is currently being conducted to see if there is interest in developing local events. Ceremony planning is already underway in Hawaii, California, Oregon, Idaho, and Texas. Those interested are encouraged to reach out to their local affiliated veterans organizations that may already be in contact with Stamp Our Story. If not, they can get more information at www.StampOurStory.org.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the USPS will produce a national-level dedication in a virtual form only through a ten-minute video that will officially announce the release of the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp online. Stamp Our Story and coalition partners are working with the USPS on the video tribute, which will feature multiple voices from the community sharing the story behind the stamp to the American public.
The campaign has long sought to honor the legacy of the Nisei men and women who served in the U.S. military during the war despite intense racial prejudice and war hysteria directed at them, and at the whole Japanese American community. The civil rights of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese heritage were removed, and they were forcibly confined in incarceration camps across the country.
Despite this injustice, 33,000 Americans of Japanese heritage enlisted anyway to show their American loyalty and help in the US war effort. The 100th/442nd RCT would become the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in US history, including 21 Medals of Honor, and 8 Presidential Unit Citations. Using their linguist skills, the MIS soldiers are acknowledged by historians as being critical to Allied victory in the Pacific Theater, shortening the war by at least two years, and saving countless lives in the process. The MIS were also important during the US Occupation of Japan, helping to rebuild and restructure Japan into a stable democracy which is now one of the strongest allies to the US. Following the end of the war, returning Go For Broke veterans became community leaders and entrepreneurs, and a number of them became prominent lawmakers, such as the late Senators Spark Matsunaga and Daniel K. Inouye.
Supporters also point out that the Go For Broke veterans not only helped to rebuild the Japanese American community, but they also contributed to building a stronger and more unified nation at large. ”Their American story continues to inform and inspire us today,” said Osako. “Their legacy is a reminder to us all of the longstanding patriotic service from AAPIs that continues today. In addition, the Go For Broke Soldiers had an intense “can do” spirit that propelled them through incredible obstacles both on the battlefield, and at home in the US. This persevering spirit that we learn from their story can help all of us get through the difficulties of today.”
Ms. Takahashi, campaign founder, shared the following statement to supporters:
“We thank all of you who have supported the stamp campaign over the past 15 years. It took the support from many, many organizations and individuals to make this stamp become a reality. We invite you to celebrate the stamp with us when it comes out. And remember to always be proud of your heritage. As Nisei, it’s what our parents taught us that made these soldiers give their best. Thank you!”
The USPS named the stamp after the “Go For Broke” motto of the U.S. Army’s 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), but which now commonly refers to all of the American men and women of Japanese heritage who served in the war. Most served in the 100th/442nd RCT, Military Intelligence Service (MIS), 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, Women’s Army Corps (WAC), Cadet Nurse Corps, and Army Nurse Corps.
Find more information at www.StampOurStory.org. We also encourage you to visit the websites of our coalition partners, who have extensive resources on the Go For Broke Soldiers.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR DEDICATION PLANNERS
This is just a little stamp.
But this little postal honor is historic, and has a huge story and legacy behind it. The stamp and its image will be a permanent record in our nation’s history, as recorded and preserved by the US Postal Museum, and by stamp collectors across the country and around the world.
The inspiring story of the Go For Broke Soldiers is the legacy that we will honor, and celebrate through the special stamp dedications.
The dedications can be small. If just a small group of people want to arrange to do one with no news media, that works. The dedications can also be a large event. If a large group wants to arrange for multiple dignitaries and organizations participating, with the news media present, that works too. The dedications are whatever is appropriate for your group’s ability and locality.
The USPS has agreed to help us with these special dedications for the Go For Broke Stamp. If requested in advance, the USPS can arrange for an enlarged stamp image for your ceremony, and will do their best to have a postal official present to participate (Note: For some locations and arrangements, USPS will not be able to provide an official). The USPS may also be able available to set up a booth (as local health codes allow) to sell the Go For Broke Stamp at your event.
In return, the USPS asks that the event be welcoming to all people, non-partisan, and have a positive tone of celebration focused on the Go For Broke Soldiers Stamp and its story.
You, or the event planner for your organization if applicable, are encouraged to first carefully read this whole page, including the instructions and notices, discuss your ideas with your team and whether you have the resources to do the event, and then contact us by email — our email address is at the bottom of this page.
In your email, please include the following information:
- Your full name(s)
- City and state of possible dedication
- Name(s) of your local affiliated veterans or other organization
- Your position(s) in the above organization(s)
- Your contact information.
- Describe briefly what you have in mind for the dedication. Please add details as applicable, including information like how many people will be helping you, which organizations (if applicable), where will it take place, can permission be arranged to use the space, who would be possible guest speakers, what are the estimated costs and can you absorb those costs, etc.
- Add any questions you may have for us.
We strongly recommend that you gather a trustworthy team together first, and figure out the logistics and rough outline of what your dedication will look like, prior to contacting us.
Stamp Our Story can provide things such as
- Help with getting in touch with the right USPS personnel for your area.
- Advice and feedback on your dedication plans.
- Possible connection with others in your community who would also like to do a dedication.
Note that Stamp Our Story does not have a funding stream, and we rely solely on volunteers.
We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to coordinate with the USPS and many organizations across the nation to set up the dedications. We may be receiving many requests when you contact us, and we may require extended processing time, perhaps 3-5 days or longer.
We will do our best to help you coordinate with local organizations that might assist in the dedication, and with the U.S. Postal Service. We may also have details on requirements for the event. Sizes of a dedication will vary by region, and by an organization’s size and outreach.
PLEASE NOTE: Stamp Our Story is not a fundraising organization, and we will not be asking for donations at these events.
The focus of a stamp dedication is on celebrating the stamp and its story.
Important! Local organizations will be responsible all of the details of the event itself, including areas such as how to advertise for the event, make reservations for an event space, and absorb any costs and other liabilities associated with the event.
Stamp Our Story is not responsible for the actions of local organizers. We will do our best to help you create a great event, but we have limitations of what we can do.
Note that each city/county/state has its own COVID-19 restrictions that change over time and may cause disruptions to your plans.
If you do not want to do in-person dedication, we can help you plan to do a virtual stamp dedication, too! This may require livestreaming your event, and/or prerecording video of a dedication online that people can view from their homes, or on their phones.
We will do our best to assist you in creating your own event! We look forward to working with you! Thank you!
A friendly reminder to please use the 7-question format above when you send your email to us if it’s regarding a stamp dedication. Thank you!