November 11th, 2008
09:54 AM ET

Veterans in focus: Brothers fighting brothers

John Torigoe

World War II didn't just divide the world. It also divided four brothers.

Not long after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Harry and Ken Akune were sent to live in an internment camp in Amache, Colorado. When the U.S. Army's Military Intelligence Service came to their camp to recruit Japanese-speaking volunteers as interpreters, they joined so they could prove their loyalty to their country.

Across the world in Japan, their father Ichiro was raising the rest of his large family - which had returned to his home country after the death of his wife - in a fishing village, Kagoshima, on the island of Kyushu. The youngest brothers, Saburo and Shiro, were just teenagers when they were drafted into the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The brothers, four of the Akunes' nine children, had all been born or raised in the United States; Ichiro Akune owned a grocery business before moving back to Japan. Harry and Ken had been sent back to America to work and earn money for the family
Harry and Ken graduated from language school in 1942 and were dispatched to the Pacific Theater. Ken served in Burma at the Office of War Information. His job was trying to create propaganda to persuade the Japanese to surrender rather than sacrifice their lives on the battlefield. Harry served in New Guinea and the Philippines.

His ethnicity didn't endear him to some of his colleagues...


Filed under: Veteran's Day
November 11th, 2008
09:46 AM ET

This small town at sea

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Joe Sterling
CNN News Editor

It's a small town at sea. That's one way to describe the USS Eisenhower, the majestic aircraft carrier floating off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina.

I was among a group of a dozen Atlantans invited to observe life on a carrier. We spent 24 hours watching F-18s take off and land, chatting with sailors about life on board and getting a feel for the arduous and lonely life at sea.

You can't help but marvel at the ship's architecture, respect its military potency, and revel in the art of teaching pilots how to take off and land on the flight deck.

But what you end up taking away from the visit is respect for sailors and the humbling thought that they are the first line of defense for the United States.

The sailors hail largely from the U.S. working class.

Many are from small towns, and many come from cities. The Navy beckons inlanders. Many of these sailors come from places like Iowa and Oklahoma – regions where kids never saw a beach.

The faces are black, Hispanic, Asian, and white. The sailors are women, as well as men. It's a humble, respectful, and polite crowd.

I saw one living area. Triple beds and tight closet space. These are close quarters and it's in everyone's interest to work and play well together.


Filed under: Joe Sterling • Veteran's Day
November 11th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Jose the Voter: Realigning the electoral map

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Maria Teresa Petersen
Founding Executive Director, Voto Latino

When you consider how Barack Obama remade the electoral map, flipping red states to blue, it's clear that John McCain should have been talking about Jose the Voter instead of Joe the Plumber. And with Latinos constituting the fastest growing group of Americans, it's clear Republicans need an emergency plan to win back Latino voters, or this realignment may be long-lasting.

In 1992, 5 million Latinos voted; this week, approximately 12 million voted, and the trend is up, up, up. Given that there are 46 million Latinos in America and only 18 million are eligible to vote today, as younger Latinos reach voting age and others become citizens, we are facing a cresting wave of Latino voters that will continue well through the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

For many Latinos, this was the week they cast their first ballot. After a divisive immigration reform debate which many Latinos saw as disrespectful in tone, Latinos turned against the GOP and Obama outperformed Kerry among Latinos by 13 percentage points. Obama won the Latino vote 2-1 and that's what put him over the top in tight elections in Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, and Florida. As Latinos migrate beyond the coastal states of California and New York, in coming elections, Latino voters will mean the difference between winning or losing traditionally red states like North Carolina and Georgia.


November 11th, 2008
07:53 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Veteran's Day politics

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

Good morning people.

There are events honoring the service of our veterans around the nation today. President-Elect Barack Obama will engage in a wreath-laying ceremony in Chicago, Vice President-Elect Joe Biden speaks 1030am in Delaware, and President Bush makes comments from the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in NYC to mark the occasion.

On this day, the President-elect’s views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could become topics du jour, our favorite Australian war zone correspondent Michael Ware is on standby for us tonight, should we need to discuss Obama’s stated strategies in fighting these wars.

Yesterday we watched as Obama got his first good look at his new office when he met with Prez Bush. Isn’t it interesting how the campaign trail can get so nasty, and then it seems like politicians are BFF’s in the aftermath? Politics, politics.

Many found the arrival of Obama and wife Michelle to be a stirring sight, and folks were trying to get a glimpse of it all by pressing their noses right up to the White House gates.


Filed under: The Buzz
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