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Rancho Cordova Independent

Honoring the Legacy and Heritage of Nisei Veterans

Nov 04, 2015 12:00AM ● By Anonymous

Kiyo Sato is a 92-year-old Nisei Veteran who was forced to live in the Poston War Relocation Center in Arizona during the summer of 1942. It was one of the largest American concentration camps during World War II for those of Japanese descent. She resided in the camp for several months before becoming the first woman freed from Poston and going on to attend Hillsdale College in Michigan.

After graduating from Hillsdale College, Sato had the grades and skills to apply to some of the most prestigious nursing schools in the country. Every single school sent rejection letters saying they didn’t allow someone of her ancestry to attend their school.

She tried to enlist in the Army and the Navy, but was also rejected. “I wanted to join, but I was the wrong color for them,â€ï¿½ Sato said.

In 1951 she was accepted by the Air Force and enlisted as a nurse, where she achieved the rank of Captain by the time her service ended.

“I never faced discrimination in the service,â€ï¿½ Sato said. “But we, the Nisei, looked like the enemy.â€ï¿½

Sato has been involved with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Nisei Post 8985. Her group has been speaking to students about their lives and time in the armed forces for almost 30 years.

Veterans Day has always been a very important day for Sato. This year she will be speaking at Rancho Cordova’s 10th Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Memorial Plaza at the Sacramento VA Medical Center.

“You serve because it’s your country. I feel that we need to give back,â€ï¿½ Sato said of her time in the Air Force.

Come commemorate our Veterans on Wednesday, Nov.11th at 9:30 a.m. for pre-program entertainment and at 10 a.m. for a commemoration ceremony, including guest speaker Kiyo Sato. This event is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Northern California Health Care System, City of Rancho Cordova, and Alphagraphics Rancho Cordova.

To learn more about the inspirational Kiyo Sato, read “Dandelion Through The Crack,â€ï¿½ which was re-published with the name “Kiyo’s Story.â€ï¿½ The book tells of a family formed by both ancestry and by the American way of life, and their perseverance through both the Great Depression and World War II. It is available online and at Barnes & Noble.

Source: City of Rancho Cordova