HOUSTON (Feb 28, 2014) — The fascinating story behind the distinctive group of men serving in World War II as soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) will be available in a state-of-the art digital exhibit.
To be developed by the National Veterans Network (NVN), in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the digital exhibit chronicles the nearly 70-year-old saga of the Japanese-American men and women who fought for the United States in the Allied Forces during WWII while many of their families and friends were incarcerated behind barbed wire in War Relocation Authority (WRA) camps because of their Japanese ancestry.
The digital exhibit will be the educational arm of the Congressional Gold Medal to bring life the personal stories of Japanese-American WWII soldiers from Hawaii and mainland United States, and a glance into their tours of duty in the European and Pacific campaigns. It will also give the civil liberties perspective of the approximately 4000 soldiers who enlisted from the WRA camps.
“I will be looking forward to the ambitious effort to formulate a extensive exhibit of the Nisei experience during WWII to bring to the attention off a wide expanse of Americans and worldwide audience,” said Susumu Ito, a Japanese-American veteran of the 442nd RCT. “It is inevitable that we veterans are very rapidly fading away but I am certain that every one of us, including the veterans who are no longer with us, very much appreciate what is being done for the future generations.”
On Oct. 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed S. 1055, a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to the 100th Infantry, 442nd RCT and MIS in recognition of their courage, dedication and sacrifice during the war. On February 18, 2014, President Obama met with seven Japanese American veterans in the Oval Office to thank them in person for their service. In attendance were Susumu Ito (442), Nelson Akagi (442), Tommie Okabayashi (442), Joseph Kurata (MIS), James Takemori (100), Terry Shima (442) and Grant Ichikawa (MIS).
On Feb. 19, 2014, in conjunction with the Day of Remembrance, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History welcomed home the medal after a seven-city tour, where an unveiling ceremony was held in front of the museum’s Price of Freedom: Americans at War exhibit. The exhibit will be open to the public until June 1, 2014. The medal will then be permanently set as a part of the exhibit.
The NVN is a coalition that advocates on a national level to educate and enlighten the public about the experience and legacy of the Japanese American World War II soldiers. The NVN led a national campaign to support the passage of S.1055, worked with the US Mint on the medal design and organized a celebration for 2500 veterans and families at the nation’s capital. The seven-city tour of the Congressional Gold Medal was the product of a collaboration of the NVN with the Smithsonian Institution to raise awareness of their military service and commitment of the Japanese-American soldier.
For information visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com or email at [email protected]