National Veterans Network Announces #IAmAmerican Social Media Campaign

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Military Intelligence Service veterans holding #IAmAmerican signs at the MIS Historic Learning Center in the Presidio of San Francisco. From left: Mas Ishikawa, Mas Hongo, Joseph Kurata and Frank Masuoka.

WASHINGTON – The National Veterans Network (NVN) invites the public to share their story for its #IAmAmerican social media campaign.

The NVN strives to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry in order to promote equality and justice. These stories of uncommon valor and selfless service, despite prejudice and racism, is a story of equality and justice.

Given the racial climate of 2021, including #StopAsianHate, it has never been timelier to share and learn about the inspirational accounts of Americans soldiers of Japanese ancestry who served in the segregated unit of U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service during World War II. Nearly 33,000 young men and women made a decision to fight for the United States at a time when they were looked upon with suspicion and discriminated against based solely on their race and ancestry.

Despite this, when called to serve, thousands enlisted from Hawaii and out of American concentration camps that incarcerated 120,000 Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans behind barbed wire. Their courage and sacrifices led them to become one of the most highly decorated military units for their size and length of service. Their struggle to overcome prejudice and demonstrate their loyalty to the United States is a story that can inspire, inform and empower us.

“Their stories are American stories,” said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director at NVN. “They were American World War II soldiers of Japanese ancestry, and it is so important and extremely relevant today to share their narratives. And now we want to know, ‘What is your American story?’”

To participate, contributors are asked to hold one of three NVN #IAmAmerican hashtag signs and share their #IamAmerican story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram today. The NVN #IAmAmerican hashtag signs were designed by fifth-generation Japanese American Kristen Wada and are available on the NVN website, https://nationalveteransnetwork.com.

All testimonials are welcome, and participants can share a personal video, quote, paragraph or story, using any of the following prompts:

• I am American because…

• What does being an American mean to you?

• Why are you proud to be an American?

• What fear and prejudice do you feel you need to overcome?

To support the campaign, tag @nationalveteransnetwork on Instagram, @NtlVetNetwork on Twitter, or @nationalveteransnetwork on Facebook. Alternatively, photos or videos can be submitted to NVN at [email protected]

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