Kisa Ito with her grandpa, Lawson Sakai, at the Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans reunion in Las Vegas in 2018. Ito will give the keynote address for the Go For Broke Monument anniversary event on June 6 at 12 noon.

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) has announced its first national livestream event marking the 21st anniversary of the iconic Go For Broke Monument on Saturday, June 6, at 12 p.m. PST.

The tribute, which will be accessible online free of charge, will honor Japanese American World War II veterans and their contributions to democracy. The event is presented, in part, by Presenting Sponsors Richard and Patricia Shinto.

Mitchell T. Maki, GFBNEC’s president and chief executive officer, and David Ono, ABC7 news anchor and member of the GFBNEC Board of Directors, will host the live presentation, which will be available via Facebook, YouTube and

Kisa Ito, granddaughter of Lawson Iichiro Sakai, 442nd Regimental Combat Team veteran, will give the keynote address. The program will include interviews with veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd RCT and Military Intelligence Service as they reflect on their wartime experiences, the nature of patriotism, and the relevance of their experiences in today’s society.

“We, of course, would rather gather in person for this important celebration, but to ensure the safety of our veterans, families and supporters during the COVID-19 pandemic, we will livestream our 21st anniversary event,” Maki said. “We can now share this important chapter of American history across the nation and worldwide, inspiring new audiences with the veterans’ legacy of valor, honor and equality.”

To provide much-needed support for its educational programming and initiatives, GFBNEC is offering several opportunities to support the veterans’ legacy:

• “Honor a Veteran” social media campaign: Supporters can create digital tributes to veteran family members and loved ones with photos to be displayed during the pre-show. Higher tiers will include additional posts of the veteran’s image via social media.

• Veteran Floral Tribute: In special tribute to our veterans, decorative potted plants, each with the name of the veteran and his donor patron, are placed around the monument (date to be confirmed).

• Opportunity Drawing: Cash prize drawing will take place on Saturday, June 6, during the livestream broadcast. Winners need not be present to win. Tickets must be received in the Go For Broke National Education Center office by 5 p.m. Friday, June 5.

• Monument Anniversary Tribute Sponsorships: All sponsors will receive recognition as a Monument 21st Anniversary Tribute sponsoring the livestream program and on the GFBNEC website.

The Go For Broke Monument was dedicated in Little Tokyo in 1999. (MARIO GERSHOM REYES/Rafu Shimpo)

“During these economically challenging times, we rely on our supporters more than ever to help share the Nisei veterans’ story, which brought new strength to our multicultural society,” Maki said. “GFBNEC has eliminated all non-essential expenses and is seeking alternative sources of funding. However, continued and increased contributions are critical for our continued success and viability.”

For more information on GFBNEC’s educational initiatives, or for questions about the virtual event, email or call (310) 328-0912.

The Go For Broke Monument, located in Los Angeles’ historic Little Tokyo district, honors more than 30,000 Americans of Japanese descent who served the U.S. during World War II, including many who were drafted from incarceration camps on the mainland. First unveiled in 1999, the monument’s polished black panels are inscribed with the names of more than 16,000 men and women who served with distinction despite widespread suspicion and prejudice.

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