Memorial Day 2012: Remembering Soldiers Of Color

As many of us here in the United States observe Memorial Day, here are some videos worth watching about veterans from many of our communities.

We’ll begin with a video that was shown here in San Diego earlier this year, at a celebration of the Congressional Gold Medal awarded two years ago to the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and and U.S. Military Intelligence Service (MIS). The unit, composed mostly of Japanese-Americans, would see heavy action during World War II in Europe, and would go on to produce 21 Medal of Honor recipients. This unit’s exploits were chronicled in fictional form in the film Only The Brave, the trailer of which can be seen here.

Shifting focus to Vietnam, here’s the trailer for As Long as I Remember: American Veteranos, Laura Varela’s documentary about Latino Vietnam veterans. While it focuses on three South Texas residents in particular, the statistics cited here reflect the sobering cost of duty in the conflict for many servicemen, particularly when it comes to PTSD.

Last year saw the birth of AIVMI – the American Indian Veterans Memorial Initiative, a campaign led by the Seminole Indian Tribe of Florida to add a statue of a Native American soldier along the Vietnam Walkway near the Vietnam Wall on the National Mall in the nation’s capital. Here we have an interview regarding the issue conducted by Kimberlie Acosta at Native Country TV with Tina Osceola from the Seminole Tribe.

Finally, here’s the trailer for Veterans Of Color, a documentary focusing on black veterans from the Vietnam and Korea wars and World War II. The film, which is coming off a screening at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida, is the result of a collaboration between the Association For the Study Of African American Life And History (ASALH) and the Veterans History Project.

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  • dersk

    If you’d like to know, I’d HIGHLY recommend reading Studs Terkel’s _The Good War_. It includes a lot of interviews with PoC who were involved in the war effort.

  • MST2010

    My  dad was a member of the last generation to serve in the segregated army, after WWII.  All the commissioned officers were white, as was the custom of the time.  He has some interesting stories to tell, including the time he was stationed in Europe.  In France he met some French-speaking Africans who only knew two words of English — “Jackie Robinson”.   He was a hero to people of color not only in the United States, but all over the world.  He was also in Berlin.  I asked how the Germans reacted to having all these young black men in their country, and he said they were nice — after all, they were occupied.  He also met a blonde, blye-eyed “Aryan” who was in a wheelchair.  As it turned out, his wife was having an affair with a black American soldier.

    The sad thing is after all those adventures, and after having a position of authority in the army (he was a surveyor)  he had to go back to segregated, racist rural Florida (but yes, he did make it out of there, got married, and had me . . . but that’s another story)!

  • Guest

    Let’s also remember the Filipino WWII Veterans who fought alongside American Soldiers and are still waiting to receive benefits promised to them 67 years later.