1945: UnAmericanism and the American Legion

The following editorial, entitled "Un-Americanism" was published in the Daily Globe in February 1945.

The membership of the Hood River, Ore., American Legion post has rejected the recommendation of the national commander, Edward Scheiberling, that it restore the names of Japanese-American servicemen erased from the county’s honor roll.

Admitting that if we lived on the west coast we might acquire some of the prejudices of west coast residents, we still think the action of the Hood River post was cowardly, unsporting, un-democratic and un-American, as well as stupid and short-sighted.

Apparently members of the post neither understand nor appreciate America. At least they have missed the main point–that Americanism is a matter of belief, not of ancestors. The people of Minnesota understand this well, since most of our people are Swedish-Americans, Norwegian-Americans, German-Americans, etc.

Yes, Minnesotans recognize what makes America tick. They know so well that one seldom sees or hears the hyphenated terms used. They know that Emil and Olaf and Carl and Fritz and Jan and Hans are Americans because they think in American terms and believe in American ideals. Their blood, spilled on the battlefields of the world, is American blood.

Many Japanese-Americans cannot be trusted because they have not accepted America. But many others have fought bravely and well with other American troops. They are Americans and deserve to be treated as Americans.

We’d like to ask a few questions about the members of the Hood River post. How many entered military service during the last war becuase they wished to serve their country? How many of those volunteers went overseas? How many of those who went overseas saw as much action as the American units of Japanese descent saw in Italy?

It is too bad that an American Legion post committed such an action and persists in holding to it. The American Legion is a fine organization, made up largely of men who fought well and bravely for their ideals.

As Sheiberling points out, when a Legion post "takes misguided or ill-advised action," it reflects upon more than 12,000 posts in the United States.

The St. Paul Dispatch remarks, "The attitude of a local post on a highly controversial subject of nationwide interest is apt to be imputed to the organization as a whole. The national commander has therefore felt obliged to disavow the action."

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