|Consul General's News Letter From Houston|
Remarks by Consul-General Jota Yamamoto
on the occasion to commemorate the awarding
of the Congressional Gold Medal
to the Texas Nisei Veterans, hosted
by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)-Houston on February 19
February 19, 2012
I thank Ms. Shara Fryer and congratulate Mr. Gary Nakamura, President of JACL-Houston.
It is my honor to join this program today and celebrate together with you all the Texas recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal. This is the occasion to note afresh the highest esteem to the Nikkei people here in Texas, and to revisit the long way of history that the Nisei and ensuing Nikkei generations have paved despite hardship and difficulties.
This is also the occasion to note afresh what close allies the United States and Japan have become since World War II, now achieving one of the most secured and mutually trusted bilateral relations. The Tomodachi Operations carried out by the US military forces after the Great East Japan Earthquake is one of the recent active examples, which speaks volumes to the sense of solidarity prevailing the Japan-US relationship.
How could it be made possible?
The answer will be manifold, yet one of the very basic factors is quite clear. It is made possible because of the ever-standing efforts and the dignified orientation of life of you all. The five recipients we congratulate today are the best representatives of what I mean.
The distinguished recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal:
Mr. George K. Fujimoto; Mr. George I. Nakamura;
Mr. Tommie Okabayashi; Mr. Kenneth N. Takehara; and
Mr. Willie Tanamachi;
Congratulations. We are truly proud of you.
I also have to refer to those in absentia:
Mr. Norman Ikari; Mr. Shigeru Imai; Mr. Yok Itoh;
Mr. Lawrence Kamiya; Mr. Walter A. Mackey;
Mr. Ronald Minami; Mr. John Ogata; and Mr. Kay Tamada;
With the same message: Congratulations. We are truly proud of you.
And, indeed, we still have a lot to learn from you.
We have a lot to learn from you the human stories you have witnessed during the wartime and period of the Occupied Japan. We have a lot to learn from you how you have overcome the enormous difficulties since then, and how, after all, you have won such respect in Texas and the States.
My dear colleagues,
We have a lot to learn from these gentlemen. And all of us present here have to assume the sacred duty to share and deepen our understanding on the history of the Nikkei people and to identify once again the solid position they have now achieved in the American community. This is the question of our identity.
We also have to assume the sacred duty to pass this story to the next and future generations, both of the Nikkei people and Japanese nationals in any corner of the world. This is the question of our dignity.
I promise you to share this common agenda and to join any attempt for such purposes. This is the matter of honor.
Distinguished Gold Medal recipients,
Accept my salute. We in Japan are truly proud of you. Congratulations.