New Lincoln County Historical Museum Exhibit Tells the Patriotism of Japanese Americans During WWII | Local

Plans for the US-Japan exhibit quickly took shape after Griffin met Yanagida, now of Lincoln, and Stephen Kay, a North Platte native and historian who recently moved home, in mid-August.

Museum volunteer Jerry Steffes, whose rural Hershey family lived near several Japanese families, first told Griffin that the museum needed an exhibit on their contributions.

“I said, ‘Yeah, I should,’ Griffin said. “Then another of our volunteers said the same thing, unrelated to each other. “

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He called Kay, who “was really excited about it and wanted Roy Yanagida to talk to me.”

The museum director knew that Yanagida, who operated a farm in Lincoln and Custer counties and managed a Broken Bow John Deere dealership for 23 years, would bring some family memories to the reunion.

But “instead, they brought in artifacts and Roy said, ‘I have a deal for you,’ Griffin said.

Yanagida offered to make an initial donation of $ 25,000 for a Japanese-American exhibit, plus an additional $ 25,000 if the museum could raise $ 25,000 on its own and agree to complete and open the exhibit within a period of time. ‘a year.

“I think and believe that the legacy and history of the people who grew up here will be preserved in this way,” Yanagida told The Telegraph later Tuesday.

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Patrick F. Williams