Me and Shig Doi. This man is 100 years old and about to turn 101. Shig is American-born Japanese and fought in WWII. Back then all the people with as little as 1/64th Japanese descent were interned — which is a nice way to say he was put in prison because of his DNA.
Many of the families were taken from their farms with little notice and only allowed to pack one suitcase of their belongings. The were sent to the interior of the US and housed in big camps under armed guard.
The people in these camps were Citizens of the United States and protected by the Constitution which was suspended for this population — because of fear. Eventually the men were allowed to form a unit called the 442nd Infantry Regiment and were trained to fight. Except in normal training soldiers are allowed to keep their guns, but not these men.
When they landed in Europe to fight their first battle Shig was given a rusty BAR. Shig was a farmer and he cleaned up and fixed the gun. He cleaned up and fixed his unit’s guns. Shig knew how to “do stuff” because he had to, back on the family farm. Farmers know how to improvise.
The soldiers of the 442nd were sent to the worst, unwinnable battles. They fought and died. They fought thinking that they could prove that the were the most bad ass Americans. They are: the 442nd is the most decorated unit in all of American military history.
Shig was Knighted by France, though he wouldn’t tell me about it for a decade. When I found out that the old man that yelled at me (because he lost his hearing — a German hand grenade went off by his head) was a knight I started doing stuff for the guy.
If folks want to understand how Shig survived the war, survived the discrimination when he returned and lived through COVID, he won’t tell you. You can’t ask him questions, you can only walk in his shoes.
There is a book you can read about him called “Lost Battalions: Going for Broke in the Vosges, Autumn 1944” by Steidl, Franz. It was updated in 2020.
or, if you prefer, you can borrow it from the Internet Archive at
The other way you can walk in Shig’s shoes is to stand up for the Fucking Constitution of the United States and fight unwinnable battles for someone else’s future. All Shig’s friends gave their lives for the same freedoms that you are unwilling to stand up for, even when our government had their families in prison.
Stand the fuck up