Columbia Gorge News, November 16, 2022
HOOD RIVER — More than 75 years after Hood River American Legion Post 22 “very publicly aided in leading this community in discrimination and shameful acts against their fellow countrymen and their families, which ultimately caused great harm,” Post Commander Carl Casey apologized to Nisei veterans and their families on behalf of Post 22 during their annual Veterans Day service Nov. 11 at Anderson’s Tribute Center.
A near capacity crowd showed up for the event, which was often emotional.
This apology was years in the making, Casey said. “This is not the first attempt to bring about some amends to our Japanese Americans and their families — past commanders Roy Elliott, Bob Huskey and Vice Commander Dennis Leonard have, for the last several years, played important roles to make amends to Nisei veterans, and to all our veterans.”
Post 22 Resolution 001-2022, read in its entirety, officially repealed the 1944 resolution that ultimately led to the removal of 16 names from the county’s roll call board — all Nisei servicemen.
“Most of us don’t grasp the actual depth of the harassment, discrimination and the racism that prevailed during that time,” he said.
“Post 22 has lived with that stigma for all these years, and after realizing the extent of Post 22’s involvement during and even before the war, I recommend to our post officers that, since Post 22 back in 1944 could make such resolutions to accomplish this kind of discrimination, why don’t we as Post 22 make a resolution now, rescinding all of the discrimination we were involved in?” said Casey, his voice catching. “It seemed to make sense to all of us, to acknowledge our prior actions and make amends, and help lead our community to a bright future.”
Photo by Rich Iwasaki