Washington, DC - The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, applauds the passage of S 1055, the Gold Medal Bill, which passed the House of Representatives today. The JACL acknowledges the leadership and work of Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman Adam Schiff in passage of the bill.
This bill recognizes the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service with the nation's highest civilian honor by the United States Congress. The recognition extends not only to those who are living but to those who were killed in action and those who have passed on.
JACL National Executive Director, Floyd Mori, commented on the debate. "It was very emotional to listen to Congressman after Congressman extol the valor of the Japanese American soldiers during World War II in spite of the fact that their families were incarcerated behind barbed wire for no reason other than their race. Many referred to the similarity of then and today's hatred aimed at loyal Muslim Americans. We thank the veterans, and we commend the Congress for the unanimous support of a measure that provides a great lesson that patriotism is beyond color and ethnicity."
Congressman Adam Schiff, who introduced the House version of the bill, had stated: "... Man for man they were the most highly decorated combat units of the war. I can't imagine a group more deserving of Congress' highest honor."
Terry Shima and Grant Ichikawa, who are World War II Veterans and leaders of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA), worked tirelessly with JACL staff in visiting Senate offices on Capitol Hill to ask for co-sponsorships of the bill. The Senate had passed S 1055 unanimously and also passed the amendment to include the Military Intelligence Service to the bill. With the passage of the amended version in the House, the next step is for the President to sign the bill.
David Kawamoto, JACL National President, stated: "The Japanese American veterans of World War II are absolutely deserving of this recognition with the nation's highest civilian honor. Their patriotism during difficult times is exemplary. This honor is long overdue but welcome. We are very happy that this bill has passed so overwhelmingly."