Go for Broke

Go for Broke

A recent piece in the Chicago Sun-Times featured Yosh Yamada, a long-time teacher and coach at Englewood High School read more here.  He was one of thousands of Japanese-Americans who ended up in Chicago because they were never given the opportunity to return to their homes after being sent to internment camps during WWII.  After release the article says, “He was drafted into the Army, where, he later wrote, ‘I served the very country that had imprisoned me.’ ”  Yosh went on to serve the students of Chicago for decades.

This coming weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. The day is intended to remember those who gave their lives while serving our country. 

The most decorated unit of its size and length was the 100th/442nd, the self-named “Go for Broke” comprised of the Nisei, or second generation Japanese Americans.  While their families were interned at home, they fought for liberty abroad.  They rescued Texas Rangers, fought at places whose names are infamous, like Anzio and Cassino, and some liberated a sub-camp of Dachau.

So this weekend, between all the fun, perhaps learn a bit about these amazing American heroes. Here are some potential sites.

https://www.goforbroke.org/learn/history/index.php

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/japanese-american-100th-infantry-battalion

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting for Early Dismissal

Waiting for Early Dismissal

I don’t know about you, but the last time I had this feeling about a year ending was probably 4th or 5th grade. In grade school, some of your personal heroes were the room mothers. They showed up at key dates: Halloween, the last day before winter vacation, and Valentine’s Day. I associate room mothers with sprinkles, you know the kind you find on cupcakes or amazing sugar cookies.

But the most important day that they refereed was that last day of school before winter break. Because the only thing that stood between a bunch of kids getting out of school for two whole weeks was that sugar infused party, complete with sprinkles.  

Now this is when we take pity on any grade school teacher. Those poor teachers spent the entire morning trying to calm a class full of children that acted as though they had already ingested a container full of sprinkles before they even got to school. We wriggled in our seats, barely able to contain our excitement …. if it had snowed outside, the distraction reached new heights. So, in an effort to keep us in our seats those poor teachers, who we might add were completely exhausted from trying to teach an entire semester, thought that they would outwit us, by giving us games and puzzles instead of work to keep us occupied until those room mothers showed up.

We’d sit there with our pencils in our fingers and start on the worksheets.  We quickly figured out the teacher had tricked us into doing some math before we could color in a winter scene, or do a word search to review our spelling words from first semester.  

In tribute to all those teachers from our childhood, and all of those teachers who have been coping as best they can in the fall semester of 2020, here’s a word search in hopes that this just might distract you for just a couple minutes as you wait with fingers crossed, hoping that the principal will get on the intercom and let us out with early dismissal from this year.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

Every last one of us is experiencing COVID-19 Fatigue, and we’ve only been at this eight months.

A year ago I was in Australia for Remembrance Day.  When I realized I would be there on the 11th of November, I knew where I had to be at 11 am. At the Cenotaph in Sydney, an older female veteran caught my attention, medals and all.

I first became aware of the outsized sacrifice of Australian and New Zealanders (ANZACs) in WWI, when I heard a folk song called “The Band played Waltzing Matilda.”

What the soldiers had to deal with when they came home in 1919? A pandemic. A year ago, I nodded in historic empathy, “Imagine, after nearly four years of war, all that sacrifice, for a small nation of 4.5 million when war broke out.” Nearly 62,000 soldiers died, to then come home and have an additional 15,000 people die from a pandemic? 

It is November 11th again. We want to complain about pandemic exhaustion, but what we label exhaustion will never begin to compare to those that survived WWI only to battle through the 1918-1919 pandemic. We may go to war for the last roll of toilet paper, or battle with our loved ones to stay in or wear masks, but in the face of true sacrifice, it truly dims.