“I could not believe I was coming home to the same reception I received twenty-three years before, following World War II. This time I was not the enemy, but I was there saving lives, perhaps their loved ones.”
Carolyn Hisako Tanaka was forced into an internment camp when she was six. When she returned from serving in the Vietnam War as a nurse, her homecoming was incredibly similar. Carolyn’s story and that of other Asian Americans are recorded in the Library of Congress (LOC) Veterans History Project. Asian Americans veterans have a long history, with some even serving on both sides of the Civil War, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross in World War I, and of course as part of the 442nd. Some of more notable stories and materials are referred to in this special section on Asian American Veterans, and it is possible to search for materials in their collection by ethnicity – you can search by Asian or separately by Pacific Islander.
Carolyn Tanaka wrote her memoirs, a book called Road Runner, and donated a copy to the LOC. The Veteran’s History Project is primarily an oral history collection, but other materials like memoirs, photo collections, and letters have been accepted. Instructions on what they are looking for as well how to contribute if you know or are a veteran are available. I am thinking about making contributions about my father, who was a U.S. Navy Veteran who saw action in the Cuban Missile Blockade and the Vietnam War.