Lyndy McGrody and her fiancé Daniel prepare their wedding invitation cards using a photo of the Go for Broke stamp to honor her Japanese American heritage.

By STAMP OUR STORY COMMITTEE

Less than six months after the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling of the first-ever Forever stamp to feature an Asian American soldier, Americans are purchasing the Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Forever stamp (currently valued at $0.58 per stamp) and sharing it with family and friends in ways that honor U.S. veterans beyond annual events like Veterans Day on Nov. 11.

For Lyndy McGrody, a native of California, the stamp holds a special place in her heart because it represents a part of her identity. As a third-generation Japanese American whose grandmother and extended family were all incarcerated at Heart Mountain during the war, Lyndy wants to share this unique piece of history with everyone she knows:

“When my fiancé, Daniel, and I went to the post office to buy stamps to send the save-the-date cards and invitations for our wedding next year, I was hoping our post office would have the Go for Broke stamp. I knew from my friend Wayne Osako that the stamp had finally been released a few months earlier, and I wanted to support the efforts for the stamp that he spoke with me about in the past, as well as support sharing the history that the stamp carries with others.

“While no one in my family served as part of the 442nd [Regimental Combat Team], they were still directly affected and brought to different types of battles as Japanese Americans during World War II — my grandfather’s family was uprooted from their home in California and sent to live and work in Utah, and my grandmother’s family was sent to Heart Mountain in Wyoming.

“As a young student, I remember getting to this period of time in U.S. history class and being shocked that the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II wasn’t mentioned beyond a couple of brief paragraphs. I am hoping the Go for Broke stamp sparks conversations amongst others so more people can learn the history behind the stamp and all the other Japanese American stories it represents.”

For Mary “Missy” Higgins, the connection of theGo for Broke Forever stamp runs deep within her family. Missy is the daughter of U.S. Army Captain Marty Higgins, the commanding officer of the “Lost Battalion” that was rescued by the Nisei soldiers in France during the war.

In Missy’s family, the story of her father is a reminder of the unsung heroes of the war, and a message about acknowledging and supporting the underrepresented members of our community who are facing adversity.

Missy recalls: “I was in a long line at the post office and wasn’t sure if they had the Go for Broke stamp. I asked a postal employee who was straightening out boxes for sale if they had the stamp. He said yes. The man behind me asked what the stamp commemorated. As I told him the story, the entire line was all ears. Many questions followed and I was proud to share I had known many of these brave men and that they had rescued my father, Capt. Marty Higgins, in the Lost Battalion. The stamp will be on all of my holiday cards.”

To Missy, if it weren’t for the Japanese American soldiers, her father would not have returned home. This is a story of gratitude, from her family to the descendants of those soldiers.

Prior to the release of the Go for Broke forever stamp, veteran Don Miyada, 96, of Laguna Beach, a former member of the 100th Infantry Battalion (A Company) who was drafted while at the Poston internment camp, shared his story with AARP on the “Take on Today” podcast earlier this year.

For Miyada, Veterans Day is another opportunity to remember the bravery of the friends and comrades he had lost during wartime.

“I think [about] all my friends and acquaintances who have given their lives to the service of their country during World War II,” said Miyada. “That extends from my days at Newport Harbor High School to the 442nd combat team. A lot of my friends at Newport Harbor High School died … and that’s about 20 of them. Of course, I’ve had friends and comrades who passed away in the 442nd.”

If it were not for the Stamp Our Story co-founders from California – Fusa Takahashi, 93, Aiko O. King, 93, and the late Chiz Ohira, who had been incarcerated along with 120,000 Japanese Americans – a Japanese American battalion would not have had a featured commemorative stamp. Thanks to the organization, more people now know the importance of having a stamp to honor the veterans’ legacy.

As the nation honors U.S. military men and women on Nov. 11, Betty Katsura of California echoes the importance of supporting the stamp and tells of her efforts to spread the word.

“I have given the stamps to numerous people in four states. When I present the stamps, I talk about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the campaign Aiko King and her friends began in 2005 to get the stamp issued. Several people said they would keep the stamps as a souvenir. I tell them to use the stamps, please, so that more people see them and, possibly, learn about the 442nd RCT. Let’s spread the story for the Stamp Our Story Committee,” said Betty, a friend of Aiko O. King. Betty and Aiko became friends through their work with the Ventura County Japanese American Citizens League.

Betty also share that one local man in her neighborhood was brought to tears while buying the Go For Broke Stamp. “A young woman who works behind the counter told me that the previous day an elderly man went in and asked for the stamp,” she explained. “He could barely talk as he was overcome with emotion, but he told her that the stamp represents the finest and most courageous soldiers. He was so happy that they were finally given some recognition.”

Brought to life after the 15-year “Stamp Our Story” campaign, the Go for Broke: Japanese American Soldiers of World War II Forever stamp honors the 33,000 Japanese American soldiers who served in the Army during World War II. The stamp will be sold on the U.S. Postal Service website until it is sold out.

To purchase the Go for Broke Forever stamp, visit USPS.com. To learn more about the stamp, visit Stamp Our Story at NiseiStamp.org and follow them on social media @StampOurStory on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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