Over 1,100 people braved the rain and wind to come to Meany Hall on the University of Washington campus in Seattle to honor nisei World War II veterans. The start of the program was simple, yet powerful, as 120 nisei veterans, including U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, took their place on stage during a ten-minute standing ovation from an audience that included Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers, former Deputy Secretary of Defense and Senior Boeing Executive Rudy deLeon and a contingent of prominent military, government, business and community leaders.
Densho Executive Director Tom Ikeda gave a multimedia historical presentation about Japanese American World War II veterans using both amusing and tear-jerking video clips from the Densho collection. This was followed by a heartfelt tribute to the nisei veterans by recently retired four-star General Richard Myers who said that "on my first Veterans' Day as a veteran, I can think of no other place I would rather be than in Seattle honoring these men."
U.S. Senator and Medal of Honor recipient Daniel K. Inouye delivered the keynote address. He gave a personal and powerful account of his journey as a young man volunteering for military service in Hawaii, training to become a soldier in Mississippi, facing the horrors of war in Europe, and rehabilitating after the loss of his arm. Densho Chairman of the Board, Scott Oki then asked the 120 World War II veterans to stand and be acknowledged in a prolonged standing ovation. The program was then followed by a festive reception in the lobby of the theater with sushi, manju and hot tea.
Several days following the event, Rudy deLeon who has attended many Veterans' Day tributes while working in the Defense Department wrote, "The Densho Veterans' Day program was absolutely one of the best I've ever attended. The remarks by General Myers and Senator Inouye were first rate. But, so, too, was your use of the materials generated by the veterans. It was very impressive."
Text of Senator Inouye's Keynote Address
Download a transcript of Senator Inouye's keynote address.
Commemorative DVD and Booklet
In conjunction with the event, Densho created a DVD of the program and a commemorative 56-page booklet which includes over 100 historic photographs. The DVD/Booklet set is available for $15 (plus a $5 shipping and handling fee per address). Download the order form below, or order online.
(If you would like a VHS copy of the program, you may order it directly from Seattle Channel for $18 at http://www.seattlechannel.org/media/tapes.htm.)
Seattle Channel Broadcast
The Veterans' Day Tribute was videotaped by Seattle Channel. Please check the schedule at http://www.seattlechannel.org/media/schedule.asp for broadcast times and details. Densho is producing a DVD of the program that is available for purchase bundled with the commemorative booklet (see below). The video is also available for on-demand viewing over the internet.
Many thanks to Frank Tsuboi for capturing these wonderful moments from the event. If you have additional photos that you would like to share in the event gallery, please contact Densho at [email protected].
For more information, contact Densho at 206-320-0095 or [email protected].
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