Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Homer Yasui Interview I
Narrator: Homer Yasui
Interviewer: Margaret Barton Ross
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: October 10, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-yhomer-01-0021

HY: But in 1944, November, the American Legion for whatever reason decided in their great wisdom that all Nisei, all Nisei with dual citizen by virtue of their birth in the United States, but at the same time, their parents were supposed to have registered them with the Japanese government as being also citizens of Japan. This was not true, but they said it was true. And they had some documentation that it was true earlier, but it wasn't true at the time they said it. And they said because of that thing, the sixteen men who were in the Armed Forces of the United States, they cannot be trusted. And until competent authority can a judge their loyalty, their names had to be stricken from this memorial board. It was kind of an honor roll board which was an American Legion, American Legion Post Number 22 project. It was their board, and it was mounted on the post office wall on the east side of the concrete post office, not concrete, stone wall. And they did remove those names. They removed all sixteen names of the Issei -- not Issei, Nisei soldiers, and one of them, well, Tim talked about several of them today, but there were sixteen, and I knew them all one way or another. Well, that really raised a firestorm of protest not only from legionnaires but also from the American Legion itself which is kind of interesting because, this is 1941-- not '41, it's '44, excuse me, 1944. Ed Scheiberling who was the commander of the National American Legion got together with his board and said, "Hey, we can't do things like that. My god, these guys, these Japanese, they may be Japanese but they're American citizens. They're fighting for the United States. We can't do a thing like that nor can we allow a thing like that." So they got, Scheiberling and his crew got back at the American Legion Post Number 22, said, "You guys will take, put those names back on the board or we'll pull your charter." So that put the Hood River American Legion Number 22 in a tough bind. They said, "Hey, what are we going to do, fellows? We either, we either fish or we cut bait. What do we want to do?" So they decided they better fish. So they said, "Okay. We'll put the names back on the board."