To the valiant Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd Regiment, this poem is for you

by Lance Young from Irvine, California in United States

A True American

“I ought to slit your throat, you dirty Jap”

The barber hissed as he brought the blade closer to George’s neck

His hatred thundered in the razor’s blade

Born of mutilated ignorance and a storm of fear

The boy thought of the day his home had become a horse stall 

And the look in his mom and sister’s eyes as they hurried to put up curtains 

to separate them from their neighbors’ eyes

His father hadn’t made it

Just one look at Executive Order 9066 plastered to their telephone pole 

had arrested his heart

Shikata ga nai, “it can’t be helped,” his mother had whispered

“These are the things that happen between the clouds and the sea.”

“Not if we show them we are Americans too,” the boy had said 

his voice steel as he signed his name to enlist

“We can believe in our country even when they don’t believe in us.”


From his hole in the ground, in a dark field in Vosges, 

His eyelids felt like lead as he kept watch

For the fatal fireworks of enemy artillery 

He had never thought he would go from laughing with his dad on the sofa 

to shivering like a wet rabbit in a hole 

for the country who had incarcerated his family 

for their ancestral blood. 

But still, as he drowned in the sour stench of fear

And the barber’s bitter ingratitude threatened to swallow George’s soul

He knew that as he stood before the feet of God

He had done no wrong

And that in his heart, he was American.

Page created on 5/26/2022 2:08:53 AM

Last edited 5/30/2022 10:54:45 AM

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Author Info

Lance Young, 15

Lance admits he is very stubborn. He likes doing things his way even though it only turns out to be the best way 30% of the time, which is proof that humans are far from perfect. Another far from perfect person Lance deals with besides himself is his younger sister, who is a creative artist and human tornado whose “stuff” has taken over 75% of the house. The amount of materials his sister leaves around is so great it is hard to navigate the halls, and when any of Lance’s stuff comes within three feet of his sister’s, it inevitably becomes covered in paint or rainbow glitter. His sister’s stuff has also somehow invaded all his drawers, leaving Lance no place to put his necessities and treasured belongings. Lance’s dream is to one day have his own quiet cabin in the woods with lots of cubbies for his stuff and no K-pop blasting. He thinks if he sells enough stuff on eBay, this could potentially happen in 20-30 years.