Sandra Vea

Sandra Vea is a graduate of the University of Washington and Western Washington University. She was worked as a public educator for 25 years. Masao Abe was the father of her partner, Alan Abe. She coaxed Masao’s story out of him through years of interviews and corroborating research. Her book, Rising Son – A US Soldier’s Secret and Heroic Role in World War II was released in February 2019 from Sasquatch Books.


Updated September 2017

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What the Nisei Generation from World War II Can Teach Us

The Thirty-Year Secret

Sometimes, stories of heroism reveal themselves in the most unusual and humble ways. That was the case with Masao Abe, a second generation Japanese-American, or Nisei. Masao served in World War II as an interpreter with the Military Intelligence Service, an operation credited for shortening the war in the South Pacific by two years. Masao recalled memories from World War II with clarity, as though events had taken place the week before. At the age of 91, Masao began to share his story until he passed away in 2013 at the age of 96.

Revealing his WWII ...

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An American Treasure

Whether Californians know it or not, they have a national treasure living among them. He just turned 102. He lives a quiet life in the bay area now, but served in the U.S. Army during two wars: World War II and the Korean War. I have never met him but have gotten to know him through letters, the old-fashioned kind that you get in the mail. His name is Hiro, very fitting—because he is, after all, a hero.

The first letter from Hiro arrived within weeks of Masao Abe’s passing in August, 2013, it was a condolence ...

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We Should Listen

I had the extraordinary experience of getting to know a Nisei solider before he died in 2013. His name was Masao Abe and he was born in 1916. I met Masao when he was in his late 80s and, after his precious wife of 63 years died, spent two days a week with him during the last three years of his life. I came to love Masao, he was like a father to me. He was kind, generous, and had the most wonderful sense of humor. I miss him still.

What I appreciated about Masao more than anything was what ...

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