WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 3, 2011) — On Nov. 2, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus honored Japanese-American veterans of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service for their dedicated service during World War II.
Earlier that same day the veterans were collectively awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow. CAPAC Members were joined by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi as well as Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Adam Schiff, the lead co-sponsors for the Gold Medal legislation, to honor the veterans for their service.
AARP hosted a special Congressional Gold Medal replica presentation at the Washington Hilton to honor the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service for their accomplishments in World War II.
Leading up to Veteran’s Day, AARP announced its support of the National Veterans Network, a coalition of 25 Japanese American veteran and civic organizations to honor Japanese American soldiers for their dedicated and decorated service during World War II.
According to the U.S. House of Representatives website, since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event.
“The soldiers in these military units showed amazing bravery and steadfast courage even when faced with extraordinary odds,” said Lorraine Cortés-Vazquez, executive vice present of multicultural outreach and engagement for AARP. “AARP is proud to recognize their dedication to serving our nation and we deeply appreciate their unparalleled valiance.”
CAPAC Chair Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA- 32) said these brave Americans volunteered to fight for their country and made heroic sacrifices to help our nation win the war abroad even as their loved-ones were imprisoned in internment camps at home.
“They battled through prejudice, yet never faltered in their loyalty and dedication to our country, and it is with great pride that we honor these veterans today and thank them for their incredible record of service,” said Chu.
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (CA-8), House Democratic Leader, said their cause was not just the end of fascism, but the end of discrimination and the American ideal of equality.
“The Japanese-American community enriches our city and is a source of strength to us,” said Pelosi. “As others have said, the 442nd—the motto of the 442nd was ‘go for broke.’ Today’s Gold Medal awardees were willing to go for broke in the fight against tyranny abroad and, in doing so, fight discrimination here at home.”
Senator Daniel Akaka (HI) said he was deeply humbled to see many surviving Nisei veterans and their families fill Emancipation Hall at the Capitol for the bestowing of a well-deserved honor.
“Congress is not only celebrating their heroism and sacrifice, but perpetuating the legacy and courage of these brave soldiers for the next generation of Americans,” said Akaka. “I want to offer my congratulations – and most profound gratitude – to my dear friend Dan Inouye, and all members of these units on receiving the nation’s highest civilian honor today.”