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The National Veterans Network is a coalition that enlightens the public about the legacy of Japanese American World War II soldiers.
They were All American


Saluting Heroes

George Sawada (442)


Dear Dad:

You are probably wondering why I have written you this letter so soon when we had just said good-bye only a few hours ago, but I felt that I owed it to myself and you to tell you some of the things I should have said and didn’t when the time came for us to part. I don’t know why I didn’t. Perhaps, it was because we are Japanese, but mainly because, I think, I was a little bit self-conscious…

One December morn, out of the friendly sky, treachery struck with appalling devastation. You turned pale when you heard the news. For days father, you were silent in your misery. Japan was the country of your birth, but America, the country of your choice. From that day you ceased speaking of Japan. Out of this treachery grew our misery.

In the spring of the following year, we were forced to evacuate to the relocation centers. It was a bitter blow to me. I, a citizen, with a brother already serving in the Army, must evacuate, and I could not understand why the German and the Italian aliens were not included. I had had an abounding faith in the justice of this nation, but she in return had placed me behind barbed wires, like any enemy alien. I was stricken with bitterness, and bitter was my denunciation of the government for this apparent discrimination.

Then you comforted me and slowly withdrew the sting of bitterness as you did many years ago when mother passed away. I could not understand at the time why you should attempt to restore my faith in the government which had never given you the right of citizenship and now by evacuation had made you again penniless. But I did not realize the love you bore for this country, made dearer because here it was that mother had died and had been laid to rest: “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.”

How clearly I remember your words of consolation now, even as I write this letter. Wisely you said: “It is for the best. For the good of many a few must suffer. This is your sacrifice, accept it as such, and you will no longer be bitter.” I listened to your words and the bitterness left me. I despised alien without citizenship, you showed me what it means to be a citizen. That I have retained my faith through this trying period and emerged what I am, a loyal American citizen, I owe to your understanding.

When the time came for enlistment, I was ready, my faith and loyalty restored, stronger, firmer, and unwavering; I volunteered. And tonight as the train carries me farther and farther from you, it also seemed to carry me back over the years of our happy life, recalling to me those days when we were five, then four, then three, and now you’re only two. I have written this letter as they came to me.
There is old Japanese or is it a Chinese saying that a man must weep thrice ere his span of life is done, or words to this effect. I do not know whether this is true or not, but I have already seen you weep twice, once in sorrow and once in joy, and if this is true and it is predestined that you must weep again, then dad, let it be for me-once in glory, for the victory that shall surely be mine. God bless you, Dad, and keep you until this happy day.

Your son,

11 Report, Semiannual Report of the War Relocation Authority, for the period January 1 to June 30, 1946, not dated. Papers of Dillon S. Myer, Page 27, http://www.trumanlibrary.org.

George Sawada



“The United States has been forged out of many minority peoples and in connection with some of them there remains for the Nation some unfinished business — the business of carrying on the fight against discrimination against minority groups so that this country may live in unity, and so that it may take its place in the community of nations with full confidence that the democracy it advocates is really practiced.”11

Papers of Dillon S. Myer
War Relocation Authority Report, July 1946

Dillon S. Myer was head of the War Relocation Authority from 1942 to 1946. He inherited a job that made him the adversary of Japanese Americans who had been unfairly incarcerated.

The quote above came from the conclusion of his last report after the war was over.