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Saluting our heroes: Veteran’s Day 2020

What does Veteran’s Day mean to Seattleites? After years of covering our city’s community, we think we have a pretty good idea. Enjoy award-winning features that honor these heroes: from a time of war and pandemic, to a Purple Heart awardee, to an inspiring local organization that’s providing a helping hand for veterans in need.

WWII veteran honored with parade for 103rd birthday

All our holidays are going to look a little different this year, and Veteran’s Day is no exception. Just ask 103 year-old veteran Gene Moy, who can’t wait to hit the dance floor in a post-pandemic world. In April, his friends and family showed him love from a distance with a surprise birthday parade. We expect to see lots of creative socially-distanced gatherings this week.

Community Stories: Shiro Kashino

Japanese-American World War II veteran, Shiro Kashino, thought of his family incarcerated at Idaho’s Minidoka War Relocation Center as he ran toward German machine gun fire to save a lost battalion of Texans. His troop lost more members than the number of Texans they saved. Higher-ups stripped him of his rank when he tried to break up a bar fight in France, but he couldn’t bear the thought of his compatriots facing battles without him. 

He fought on.

An American Hero: Frank Nishimura

Another Seattle Japanese American, Frank Nishimura, watched the FBI detain Japanese community leaders. The army moved most of his neighbors to incarceration camps in remote desolate places. But Frank’s fate would end up on the battle fields of Europe, where he escaped death, and would return home a hero.

Lawrence Matsuda and Matt Sasaki tell Kashino’s story in the graphic novel “Fighting for America: Nisei Soldiers.”

Photographer Shane Sato’s Nisei veterans project

Photographer Shane Sato spent 20 years honoring Japanese-American WWII Nesei veterans who fought for the freedom of a country who took theirs away. His book, “The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage,” captured not only the last photos of the vets in their old uniforms, but the lingering feelings they called up. He let us into his shoots and shared what the process meant to him.

Seattle Stand Down gives veterans a hand up

Any other year, Seattle Stand Down would work with the homeless and at-risk veteran community with countless in-person medical, food, clothing, paperwork, and interpersonal programs. They know it’s hard to ask for help, especially if the military has taught you to be self-sufficient, but they want to prove that love and support are a given, not something to be avoided or earned. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it difficult to reach vets this year. Though their regular December event is cancelled, the organization is serving those who served with a virtual holiday toy store and emergency cold weather gear.

The broad impact of WWI on Seattle

Much like the Seattle of 2020, our city didn’t see “an aspect of life…that wasn’t transformed” during World War I and the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, two events that raged simultaneously, and both altering history forever.