A new campaign, "They Deserve a Stamp," is urging the United States Postal Service to create a commemorative stamp to honor the Nisei Japanese-American (JA) soldiers who fought in the U.S. military during World War II while their families were relocated to internment camps.
"Historically, the Japanese-American experience has never received top billing, been the headliner, got the spotlight. This feels like another slap," Jeff MacIntyre, who with journalist David Ono co-produced the Emmy Award-winning documentary "The Legacy of Heart Mountain," told NBC News. "Their contribution to the country barely gets two paragraphs in history books. In some areas of the U.S., internment and their military service [aren't] even taught. Like the stamp, this is a huge oversight."
The campaign notes that if Elvis, Batman, penguins, Harry Potter, butterflies, and Garfield all have commemorative stamps, then the most decorated military unit in U.S. history certainly meets USPS criteria.
There have been several different campaigns for a commemorative stamp in the past, but none were successful.
"In the past, stamp campaigns have been spearheaded by passionate individuals who fought hard to make it a reality. I honor those who've walked the difficult road," MacIntyre, who is working with Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC), said. "Since my background is in film and TV, I wanted to approach it from another angle. I want to harness the power of social media to raise awareness. By making a big splash, not only can we rally support for such a deserving cause, we can also educate people who may not know the Japanese-American story. A story which is deeply American."
The segregated all-Japanese-American military units include the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, Military Intelligence Service, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (which liberated Dachau), 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.
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