Washington, D.C. -- As previously announced, the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) will honor Senator Daniel K. Akaka at its third annual National JACL Gala Awards Dinner to be held in Washington, D.C. on September 17, 2009, at the J. W. Marriott Hotel. Senator Akaka, a veteran himself, has worked very hard on behalf of veterans through his service on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee for many years and currently as Chairman.
The JACL, the nation's oldest and largest Asian American civil and human rights organization, will honor veterans at its Gala this year. The JACL and the nation owe much to the Japanese American veterans of World War II, who valiantly served in the United States military at a time when they faced extreme prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Many veterans who were from the West Coast of the United States joined the U.S. Army while being incarcerated with their families in remote and desolate concentration camps which housed 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry who were forced from their homes after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. The famed 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was comprised of Japanese American soldiers, became the most highly decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of the United States military. The bravery and commitment of the Japanese American veterans helped to start the civil rights movement within the country.
While there are numerous individual veterans who have served this country well and who deserve awards, it is planned to honor all veterans who have served in the military without singling out certain veterans. All veterans and current members of the military are to be honored collectively. However, the JACL will present awards to some groups which serve veterans and which are committed to keeping the veterans' story alive for future generations. Those to receive honors are the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) which serves all former and current veterans throughout the nation, The Japanese American Korean War Veterans (JAKWV), The Go For Broke National Education Center, and The National Japanese American Historical Society (NJAHS).
There are many organizations throughout the nation which serve the Japanese American veterans and other veterans, and they are all to be congratulated for the huge service they perform for veterans. It is not possible to honor them all, but the JACL wishes to thank these organizations for their service to and on behalf of the veterans.