In 1986, Japanese American veterans who had served in segregated units during World War II decided to create an organization committed to keeping alive their legacy of rising above prejudice and distrust to serve their country with unparalleled bravery and distinction.
Spearheaded by Colonel (Ret.) Young Oak Kim and Buddy Mamiya, the veterans embarked on a mission to build a monument as a lasting memorial to the patriotic men who served their country, even though their country had turned its back on their families.
In 1989 the organization was formally incorporated as the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation. For ten years, the veterans led a grassroots campaign to raise funds for the monument, and to secure a location in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo district.
1998 was a watershed year as ground was broken for the monument, the Hanashi oral history program kicked off, and the organization held its first teacher training workshop.
DEDICATION OF THE MONUMENT
On June 5, 1999 the Go For Broke Monument, a black, 40-feet-wide granite circle reaching nine feet high, engraved with the names of 16,000+ Nisei soldiers who served overseas during World War II, was dedicated to a crowd of more than 1,500 veterans, family members, dignitaries, friends, and media. On the monument are carved the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.
Having completed their original mission of building the monument, the veterans established the Go For Broke National Education Foundation to focus on educational programs to preserve and perpetuate the veterans' story.
Over the years the organization has continued to develop is educational resources and outreach. We partnered with the Museum of Tolerance to tell the story of the Japanese American soldiers serving in the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion who were amongst the first to reach a Dachau sub-camp and render aid to the Jewish Holocaust survivors.
Our comprehensive video, "A Tradition of Honor," paired with curriculum guides tailored to meet state standards, has provided the backbone for our teacher workshops. In recent years, we have developed online curricula to support project based learning.
In 2006 we made a slight name change to the "Go For Broke National Education Center" to reflect our vision of nationwide educational outreach.
Today, we've completed over 1,100 veteran interviews, taught over 3,000 teachers and 100,000 students, and we continue to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to the Go For Broke Monument.