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Ellis Island Japanese American Exhibit Dedicated

New York City - The dedication ceremony for the exhibit, "Go For Broke: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts," was held at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on August 8, 2010.  The exhibit was created by the Japanese American Wartime History Project with Eric Saul as curator.  Saul, former director of the Presidio Army Museum, created the original "Go For Broke" exhibit in 1980.  Saul said, "This is a wonderful tribute to the veterans on the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.  Their history is one of the great stories in American history."  Tribute was paid to the veterans of World War II, several of whom were in attendance. 
 
George Takei, of Star Trek fame, served as Master of Ceremonies with the United States Park Police posting the colors.  The National Anthem was sung by Abbi Bingham Endicott.  Chaplain Lt. Commander U.S. Navy John M. Miyahara gave the invocation and benediction.  Remarks were made by Ambassador Shinichi Nishimiya, Consul General of Japan in New York, and Robert Nakamoto, President of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA). Floyd Mori, National Executive Director of the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), spoke about Mike Masaoka, to whom Saul has dedicated the exhibit, along with Chet Tanaka, who worked with Masaoka in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Mr. David Luchsinger, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, also spoke at the dedication as did Joanne Oppenheim, author of Dear Ms. Breed.
 
The keynote address was given by Major General Kelly McKeague, USAF, Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Department of Defense.  He spoke of the Hawaii National Guard which had been in existence since 1893.  They were discharged in 1898 and reorganized in 1899 under the Territory of Hawaii.  Japanese Americans were a large part of the National Guard.  The 100th Infantry Battalion was formed and sent to Camp Shelby in Mississippi. They were joined by the Japanese Americans from the mainland who made up the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They did not get along at first until the Hawaii soldiers were taken on a visit to the concentration camp in Rohwer, Arkansas.  When they saw the conditions from which many of the 442nd enlisted, their attitudes changed.  They began to understand each other and get along.  He mentioned President Harry Truman's remarks to the Japanese American soldiers upon their return from the war that they had not only fought the enemy but fought prejudice and had won.
 
Also shown for those who attended the dedication at the Museum was the film, "442:  Live with Honor, Die with Dignity."  It is highly recommended for anyone who would like to know more about the history of the 100th/442nd and Japanese Americans.  
 
Comprising the exhibit are 150 rare photographs collected from a number of prominent government agency archives and private collections from Hawaii and the mainland America. The exhibit opened to the public on Monday, July 5, 2010, and will be open seven days a week throughout the summer at Ellis Island.  



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