By Shihou Sasaki
The North American Post
The new U.S. National Army Museum plans to feature the Japanese American military experience during World War II. The museum and national Nikkei veterans’ representatives visited Seattle last week to meet local Nisei vets members to emphasize how sharing their experiences will be important and distinguish the exhibition of the military service history.
The museum is now under construction on an 84-acre site at Fort Belvoir, Va., to honor the service and sacrifice of all American soldiers for over two centuries.
The Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal, honoring the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Battalion and Military Intelligence Service, were part of the theme for the visit. The museum has a plan to showcase the medal in 2021 for a few years while the current exhibitor Smithsonian Museum will face its massive renovation in the years to come. During this time, the stories and experiences of the Japanese American soldiers will be featured in the same section.
The army museum also shared its efforts to preserve and portray the story of Japanese American Soldiers serving during World War II. The project has worked closely with the National Japanese American Veterans Network group.
The National Veterans Network (NVN) has been working with the Smithsonian Museum to record dozens of Nisei soldiers’ experiences for youth education. The group is continuing the effort in collecting more stories for the army museum, said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director of the NVN.
The museum will be open in 2019, featuring six sections on major war events in American history. In 2021, the army museum will create a special exhibition room featuring the Nisei soldiers who earned the Congressional Gold Medal, according to Tammy E. Call, director of the National Museum of the United States Amy.
Eric Shinseki, former U.S. army general and secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said that he does not want to see the Nisei soldiers’ medals put in a darkroom for years during the Smithsonian Museum’s renovation but says that they should be exhibited to help tell an important American story.
Shinseki added a statement to share how preserving the Nisei soldiers’ story is significant and a great educational model to teach American values.
“I hear and I forget; I see, I remember; I do and I understand,” he said, quoting a Chinese poem. “It’s not enough to just tell stories. Stories won’t be alive. We have to do something.”