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April 17, 2003
World War II Veteran Francis Y. Sogi Speaks at Library of Congress on May 1
Issues Call to Asian American, Pacific American Veterans to Participate in Veterans History Project
Francis Y. Sogi, life partner in the New York law firm of Kelley Drye & Warren, member of the Five-Star Council of the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, and veteran of World War II, will speak about his military and public service at noon on Thursday, May 1, in the Mumford Room, sixth floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Avenue S.E.
In a kick-off event for the Library's month-long commemoration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Sogi will encourage the Asian American and Pacific American communities to honor veterans by recording their stories for the Veterans History Project. The program is free and open to the public.
"Now, during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, there is no more fitting time to honor our nation's Asian American and Pacific American veterans and no better way to preserve the memories of those who have served us in wartime," Sogi said. "We ask everyone to volunteer a little time during this special month to help by interviewing Asian and Pacific American veterans in their communities."
"Every day, the collection of oral histories, memoirs, letters and photographs expands," said Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, director of the Veterans History Project. "Particularly during the month of May, we urge all citizens to seek out Asian Pacific Americans veterans and record their stories," said Lovell.
Sogi was born in 1923 in Kona, Hawaii. He began his military career in 1944, when he joined the Military Intelligence Service. In 1946, he served with the Counter Intelligence Corps, rising to the rank of Captain before retiring in 1953. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii in 1949 and his J.D. from Fordham University in 1952. He attended the Chuo University School of Law in Tokyo from 1953-1954 and the Counter Intelligence Corps School of Special Education in 1946 and 1950.
In 1952, Sogi joined the New York State Bar Association and the First Tokyo Bar Association a year later. He has served as president of the Japanese American Veterans Council of New York Inc., and is chairman emeritus of the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. In 1998, Sogi founded and served as vice chairman of the National Japanese American Veterans Council. He also currently serves as the director and secretary/treasurer of the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation and as a member of the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. He is affiliated with many Japanese American veterans groups, such as the Military Intelligence Service Veterans associations of Seattle, Northern California and Hawaii.
The Veterans History Project is a project of the Library of Congress through its American Folklife Center to collect and preserve oral histories and documentary materials from veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars. The project was created by unanimous vote of Congress in October 2000.
Individuals, family members, veterans, civic groups and organizations that are willing to interview veterans are invited to contact the Veterans History Project, where staff will provide guidance and information. The resulting audio or videotapes and related documentary material collected from veterans will be preserved at the Library of Congress as part of the permanent record of our nation's history. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to e-mail the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a project kit. The kit is also available on the Veterans History Project Web site at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
More than 650 organizations, including the Samoan Oral History Association, the Hawaii United Okinawa Association and the Pacific American Foundation participate in the project. AARP is the project's founding sponsor.
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