WATCH: George Takei Reveals Why He Loves the Country That Betrayed Him

By Jase Peeples

Originally published on Advocate.com July 07 2014 2:22 PM ET

Actor. Activist. Internet sensation. Inspiration. George Takei has been all of these and more throughout his life, and in a new TED conference video, the the 77-year-old icon shares how his views of patriotism were shaped during the days he spent as a child in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.

While highlighting the unjust treatment of his family and other Japanese-Americans during the war, Takei also reveals how he has been motivated to be an outspoken advocate throughout his life by the indomitable spirit of those he saw around him — men and women who remained dedicated American patriots in the face of horrible prejudice and hatred.

“I am dedicated to making my country an even better America,” Takei says in the video. “To making our government an even truer democracy, and because of the heroes that I have and the struggles that we’ve gone through, I can stand before you as a gay Japanese-American. But even more than that, I am a proud American.”

Watch the video below: