WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 3, 2015) — During WWII, more than 20,000 Japanese Americans served in combat or in military intelligence, including the famed 442nd that remains the most decorated unit in US history. This heroism occurred against the backdrop of the forced relocation of 120,000 Japanese Americans, including many of the families of those who served. They were held for nearly four years in isolated concentration camps, with their property confiscated and their former lives and dreams shattered. It took our government more than 40 years after the war, for it to acknowledge the fundamental injustice of internment, as well as issue reparations for lost property.
Another great injustice still taking place is the treatment of American Samoan and Guamanian veterans when they return home. Despite the fact that nearly one in eight adultsin these US territories have served in the armed forces, they experienced one of the lowest per veteran rates of investment in their medical care in the entirety of America. Receiving psychiatric services to treat PTSD sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan can be nearly impossible on the island, and the veterans who served so proudly have been, and continue to be, left behind by our veterans care system.