Densho Digital Repository
Seattle JACL Oral History Collection
Title: Sharon Sobie Seymour Interview
Narrator: Sharon Sobie Seymour
Interviewers: Kristen M. Eng, Bill Tashima
Date: December 15, 2020
Densho ID: ddr-sjacl-2-27-7

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BT: I also wanted to add, Sharon, you had two events that you didn't mention. One I know, I know this for a fact that you did the first past presidents' luncheon, and it was that Nikkei Manor. And I think you might have done it when Akemi was president, but you said it was a lot... you wanted to finish unfinished business because you had planned to do it. And you didn't, but you wanted to see it through. And so, I remember the luncheon there. And the second thing is I am pretty sure you first got us involved with the Hiroshima to Hope lantern float at Green Lake. Because I... that was my first year on the board.

SS: Yeah, yeah.

BT: And you said you got a request from this group, and you thinkĀ  it's something that we should be involved with. And so, we've been involved with Hiroshima to Hope lantern float ever since. So those are...

SS: I did forget about that. Actually another one is, so this is probably out of my guilt, but I wanted to do something for the Nisei vets and work with them. So, after the convention, I had joined along with, again, Arlene and Elaine. They represented different entities, but I wanted to represent our chapter in the Medal of Honor ceremony that we had.

BT: Oh, I remember that.

SS: And I purposely joined that. It was one of the best committees I've ever worked on. You gotta remember, too, Kristen, I had during all of this in 2000, I had a one-year-old and a two-year-old. I mean, she was one and then became two. She went everywhere after I was president. She went to all the Medal of Honor meetings and all that. But anyways, we worked with them and then that transitioned, because that went past 2000. And that transitioned also into the Nakamura and Okubo -- those are the two gentlemen who were being honored for the Medal of Honor. And there was... I don't know if you know that the federal courthouse...

BT: Yeah, the courthouse, I was at that ceremony.

SS: Yeah, yeah.

BT: The renaming of the courthouse to the Nakamura Courthouse. And also, I went down to Fort Lewis when they renamed the medical center down there.

SS: Renamed Okubo, yeah.

BT: Okubo, right.

SS: So I wanted to make sure that Seattle JACL was still connected to that. I did not want any of the vets to ever think that they are not important to us, to our chapter, to our community, to me personally. I think I worked the hardest on that committee. And it was the most amazing thing. Again, military kid, so Medal of Honor -- I'd never been at a ceremony -- I know what it, the gravity of it, how huge that is. So to be a part of that was, it was so phenomenal. One of the things I treasure definitely is that. And the people I got to work with, all the Niseis, they really were quite wonderful. They were just absolutely wonderful. That's where I learned from George Yamane, he used to say, "God, family, country." That's how he put it. That's how he raised his family and that impacted me. So, you serve God, you serve your family, you serve your country.

BT: When you mentioned that, I thought, I was thinking of George, and I was thinking what a nice person he was.

SS: I got to work with him and got to know him so well. Same with Tosh.

BT: Tosh Okamoto.

SS: He was one of my mentors. He... I just adored him and his wife, I love Toshi, too. And yeah, anyway...

BT: Toshi's more outspoken. She's not afraid to give her opinion.

SS: I know, I know and to him too, dang it. I love that. [Laughs] But some of the people that I got to work with, and I got to meet and know, and know their stories, that were Niseis, and even older Sanseis, those are embedded in my thoughts, in my heart. And I feel so honored and privileged that I got to know those people, and they shared a little teeny bit of their life, and their experiences, and their advice. So, I didn't say any of the really super bad stuff, Bill. [Laughs] Should I keep, should we keep going?

BT: I think we should go on to the next question. Not because... because the other part I should have mentioned is, we're going to send you an email and there's going to be some follow up questions.

SS: Okay.

BT: So yeah, feel free to add anything you want. But I am writing some questions down as you're going that I don't, that I want to follow up on what you're saying.

SS: I mean, there's a lot we're skipping over.

BT: Yeah.

SS: But that would take... poor Kristen would probably go and hang herself after because like, "Oh my god, lady, shut up." But 2000 was a really, it was just, it was just a year of change, and so much. 2000 was a pretty explosive, in good and challenges. So, a lot to say, really. Okay, next question.

KE: It's been awesome to hear all these, all these accomplishments and things because I haven't heard of them, and it's just really cool.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2020 Seattle Chapter JACL. All Rights Reserved.