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By admin | May 16th, 2013

Meet the Author of “Twice Heroes” — Tom Graves

Book by Tom Graves

Joe Rosenthal Chapter member, Tom Graves talks about his interviews of Nisei Veterans, their battles against wartime suspicion and racism, and overcoming them with their courage and patriotism.

Tuesday  •  June 11, 2013  •  6:00 pm
Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel, 609 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Registration at 5:30 pm | Program at 6:00 pm

TWICE HEROES: America’s Nisei Veterans of WWII and Korea, tells the story of true American heroes, up to now, a piece of history known to few of their countrymen.

Through his interviews and professional portraits, author and photographer Tom Graves shares the experiences of Japanese American veterans before, during and after World War II.

At first denigrated and mistrusted, the Nisei veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, earned the praise of a nation, and ultimately, a Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian honor. The Congressional Gold Medal comes to San Francisco on June 29 for display at the de Young Museum until August 4, 2013.

In the panic following the December 1941 Pearl Harbor attack, the Nisei, American citizens, were prohibited from joining the U.S. armed forces, and along with their families, many faced forced incarceration in bleak internment camps.

They took up the fight for their country, for civil liberties, for the freedom of their families and recognition for themselves as full American citizens. Along the way, they became the most decorated military unit in United States history, fought their own civil rights battle, championed Hawaii statehood and acceptance of Asian Americans into our society.

Author and photographer Tom Graves is a familiar face and popular speaker in the Bay Area veterans’ community. Graves is a member of the USMC Combat Correspondents Association, the 99th Infantry Battalion Educational Foundation and the USS San Francisco CA-38 Memorial Foundation. He and his camera are present at many veterans’ events, and he has spent hundreds of hours interviewing scores of veterans around the country and then translated the results into individual stories of the human spirit. In TWICE HEROES, each black-and-white portrait (there are 98 in the oversize book) introduces us to a veteran. The following interview reveals a story of growing up in a racist America, fighting for the same country against foreign enemies, of young men at war and of old men looking back with the wisdom of their years.

The veterans include the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Cabinet Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, George R. Ariyoshi, the first Asian American governor, Medal of Honor recipients and the ordinary men and women who fought for America.

As they returned home from war, President Harry Truman addressed the Nisei troops, provided the inspiration for TWICE HEROES’ title: “You fought not only the enemy, but you fought racism and you have won.”

World War II was not only the last great battle of Good over Evil; it was the war of a great American generation ― one we are losing at the rate of 1,000 a day. These are the veterans Truman addressed, and the ones whose lives and likenesses Tom Graves portrayed in TWICE HEROES. The author captured the essence of the Nisei veterans’ legacy for us― and for future generations.

TWICE HEROES is available in San Francisco at Kinokuniya bookstore, and at the National Japanese American Historical Society (, both in Japantown; in San Jose at the Japanese American Museum of San Jose, and at


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