During my online research on the late Ted Ohira, I learned about a grass-roots effort to convince the United States Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp honoring the JAs who fought in WWII — the 442nd Regiment, the 100th Batallion and the Military Intelligence Service.
Chiz Ohira, 79, wife of 442nd veteran Ted Ohira, believes the USPS needs to recognize this group of special men who volunteered out of internment camps even while their family members remained imprisoned.
“This is a unique group of men,” she said. “I don’t think there will be anything like that again.”
For the past five years a group of individuals – many of them wives of JA WWII vets – have been working on a grassroots campaign to urge the United States Postal Service (USPS) and their Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) to issue a commemorative stamp in honor of these veterans. But so far only rejection letters have followed.
Fusako Takahashi, 79, widow of a MIS veteran, had never felt the true impact of the JA WWII veterans’ story until she read a speech by Eric Saul, a noted historian and scholar.
“I never realized what they went through,” she said. “I feel pretty strongly about it.”
Now she is one of the many veterans’ wives and widows who are collectively pushing for a commemorative stamp for the JA WWII vets.
“I think this is really significant. But we can’t do this with just a few people. We need a popular effort,” said Osako, who urged people to sign their petition to support the stamp campaign.
“We have to get the story out,” said Ohira, “before all of our vets are gone.”