Sandra Tanamachi

Honorable Chairwoman Lowe and Members of the Board:

My name is Sandra Tanamachi, and I am a proud Texan, as my family has lived here for five generations.  I have been a teacher in the Texas Public School System for 28 years, so I have had the privilege of shaping the lives of hundreds of our school children. I have a vested interest in what happens with our Social Studies curriculum, as it will dictate what we, as educators, are allowed to teach in our classrooms. I take pride in how and what I present to my students, as they will go on to become our future leaders.

I am representing the Japanese American Veterans Association and, through his son Michael, the late Captain Marty Higgins, Commanding Officer of the Texas Lost Battalion. 

It is in the interest of my students, that the information about the internment of Japanese Americans is accurate.  My mother and her family were interned in a horse stall at the Santa Anita Racetrack for six months, and then sent to Rohwer, Arkansas.  120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were sent to 10 camps located in desolate locations across our country. This was done without due process.  From these camps, young Japanese American men volunteered without hesitation to fight for our country. While in camp, one uncle became part of the Military Intelligence Service. The MIS has been credited for shortening the war in the Pacific by two years.  Three of my father’s brothers were part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  The 442nd became the most decorated American unit in U.S. military history.  One uncle died during the Rescue of the Lost Battalion, and he was one of the first two Japanese Americans to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. The Lost Battalion was a Texas Battalion trapped by the Germans in the Vosges Mountains in France.  They were rescued by the 442nd. To express their gratitude, Texas recognized members of the 442nd as Honorary Texans in 1963.

It is in the interest of my students, that the information taught in our textbooks is based on facts, and gives credit to all who contributed to our glorious Texas history.
Please do not minimize the accurate facts about the internment of Japanese Americans.  In Section 113.41c, TEKS 7.G, I encourage you to give recognition to the heroic deeds of the 442nd and the MIS, so that they can stand side by side with the Tuskegee Airmen, the Flying Tigers, and the Navajo Code Talkers….Heroes All.

In the interest of ALL of our Texas students, I have confidence that you will do the right thing.

Thank you,
Sandra Tanamachi
112 Indian Paintbrush
Lake Jackson, TX 77566

May 19, 2010