Washington DC -- President Obama officially signed S. 1055 which will grant the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian award, collectively, to the U.S. Army's 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service for their extraordinary accomplishments in World War II. The men in these units, comprised almost entirely of persons of Japanese ancestry, fought with uncommon bravery and valor against our nation's enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even while many of their parents and kin were held in internment camps. Their record demonstrates an abiding faith in the American dream, and provides an indelible testimonial to the meaning of American patriotism. The recognition extends not only to those who are living, but also to those who were killed in action and those who have passed on.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye, congress members Mike Honda, Mazie Hirono, Adam Schiff, Bob Filner, and Charles Djou were proudly in attendance along with Secretary of Veteran Affiairs, General Eric Shinseki. Terry Shima, Grant Ishikawa, Osamu "Sam" Fujikawa, and Jimmie Kanaya, and Yeiichi "Kelly" Kuwayamarepresented the veterans at the event. Christine Yamazaki, Chairperson for the National Veterans Network also was in attendance. The National Veterans Network, which the JACL is a member of, is a coalition of 22 Japanese American veteran and civic organizations nationwide established to serve the interests of Japanese American WWII and subsequent war veterans
National Executive Director of the JACL, Floyd Mori attended the intimate signing in the Oval Office and said:
"It was an extreme honor to stand with a handful of veterans and members of Congress attending the ceremony in the Oval Office. The President commented that, 'All of us today stand on the shoulders of the brave men who fought in World War II.'' With the Bill signed, we can remember and properly honor this group of heroes who truly fought prejudice abroad and at home.