Congressional bill honors 442nd Combat Team and WWII Nisei Veterans

October 6, 2010, 8:11 AM HST · Updated October 6, 8:11 AM
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President Barack Obama signed the Congressional Gold Medal for Japanese American Veterans Act into law yesterday, honoring 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service for their heroic service and sacrifice during World War II.

“This well-deserved Congressional Gold Medal honors the Nisei veterans and demonstrates the greatness of our country,” said U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka in a press release.  “While some Japanese Americans were being wrongly interned due only to their ethnicity, these brave men stepped forward to defend our nation.  Their bravery helped to not only win the war, it paved the way towards a more tolerant and just nation,” said Akaka.

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The Senate unanimously passed the Congressional Gold Medal for Japanese American Veterans Act, S. 1055, on August 2.  The House of Representatives then passed the Senate bill by voice-vote on September 23.

The 442nd, made up of Americans of Japanese ancestry who volunteered to fight, is the most decorated Army unit of its size and length of service in the history of the United States.  The Military Intelligence Service provided the U.S. with language and cultural knowledge, translating intercepted intelligence and helping the U.S. achieve victory in the Pacific.

Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.  Along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Presidential Citizens Medal it is the highest civilian honor awarded in the U.S.

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