Hawaii Congressional Delegation Looks Forward to Gold Medal Ceremony

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WASHINGTON — A resolution passed by Congress this month is paving the way for a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony to be held next month in the nation’s capital, honoring members of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service for their dedicated service during World War II.

Sen. Daniel Inouye and Rep. Mazie Hirono.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 28 authorized the use of Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitors Center for the commemoration on Nov. 2.  Sens. Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka (both D-Hawaii) led the resolution through the U.S. Senate on Sept. 8, and Reps. Mazie K. Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa (both D-Hawaii) ushered it through the House of Representatives on Sept. 21.

The award was authorized by the Congressional Gold Medal for Japanese American Veterans Act, cosponsored by Akaka and Inouye and signed into law by President Barack Obama on Oct. 5, 2010.

“I am looking forward to seeing thousands of Nisei veterans and their families fill Emancipation Hall at the Capitol as Congress presents the units this well-deserved honor for their heroic service, which helped win the war,” said Akaka, who served with the Army in Saipan and Tinian during and after the war. “The statues of Kamehameha and Lady Freedom will frame the ceremony as these World War II heroes are honored with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and Sen. Daniel Akaka.

“I am very pleased that we will be able to use this space to commemorate this moment and share it with our families, loved ones, and friends,” said Inouye, a 100th/442nd veteran and Medal of Honor recipient. “I was with several of my former comrades-in-arms in the Oval Office when the president signed the recognition, making it official. We appeared to be in a happy, jovial mood, but I am certain that all of us recognized the emotional caliber of the moment.

“We knew that the recognition we were receiving was the result of lost lives and bloodshed. We remembered our brothers who did not come home from the war. We were humbled, proud and pleased that the contributions and sacrifices we made in defense of our country were recognized. I am very grateful to this nation for remembering us.”

“This November, we will hold a long-awaited ceremony that pays tribute to the service and unquestioned loyalty of these heroic World War II veterans,” said Hirono. “These soldiers faced wartime challenges with honor and dignity not only on the battlefields of Europe, but back home during uncertain times. I look forward to this commemoration that will allow our nation to acknowledge their heroism and sacrifice.”

“This recognition of valor and heroism is long overdue,” said Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, these remarkable heroes volunteered to defend a country that declared them to be ‘enemy aliens.’  They clamored for permission to fight for a nation that sent many of their family members and friends to internment camps. This ceremony will give us the opportunity to thank these veterans for their service and sacrifice — and honor those who are not with us to witness this extraordinary moment.”

For the latest updates on the Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com/.

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