The Statue of Liberty - Part 2 of 2
Thursday, July 23, 2015
My American Dad was drafted to the U.S. Army when he turned 18. At the time, he was living in the same internment camp as his mom, brothers and sisters. He graduated from high school in the camp, and I think it is ironic that his entire family was put into the internment camp because of the fear these Americans who happened to be of Japanese ancestry would or could betray the U.S. However, the U.S. government felt that the young Americans should still serve their country: the U.S. I do not understand it, but I think my dad was grateful to leave the camp even though he was entering the U.S. Army.
He attended boot camp in Alabama, I think, and then was shipped out of New York City to fight in Europe. He was part of the famous 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry: all Japanese Americans, born in the U.S. Only the generals and lieutenants were Caucasians.
The Army, and probably the U.S. government in general, felt that it was best to hide the Japanese American troops below deck as they traveled on the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty, and out to sea away from any watching eyes from the public or others. According to my dad, he felt ashamed and felt that the government was ashamed of all these young men who were Americans. I also know he resented being treated less than 100% American by having to stay below deck as they passed New York City.
In 2007 my daughter was a sophomore at New York University. My dad and I flew from Oakland with my daughter to help her move into her dorm. She was able to move in before most of the other students, so we had lots of time to do some sightseeing. My dad was not really interested in seeing much of New York, but he did want to go to the Empire State Building and see the Statue of Liberty.
As we were on the tourist boat passing the Statue of Liberty, he told me about how he never got to see the Statue of Liberty when he was shipped out to Europe. He got very emotional and teared up a little as he saw the Statue of Liberty. He felt proud to be an American, and seeing the Statue of Liberty was something he had always wanted to see. I am very happy that my daughter and I helped him to fulfill a long, almost lost, dream before he passed away.
I am proud to be his daughter, and proud of my Dad that he served in the U.S. Army for our wonderful country. Check that, I am proud of my Dad period.
Love you, Dad, and I miss you every day.