japanese american veterans awarded congressional gold medal

Today in Washington, thousands of Japanese American veterans of World War II were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor -- and a long overdue thank you for their service with the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, as well as the Military Intelligence Service. Here's C-SPAN's video of the medal ceremony:

More here: Congress honors Japanese-American soldiers.
Nearly seven decades after the war's beginning, Congress awarded three units the Congressional Gold Medal. In all, about 19,000 Japanese-Americans served in the units honored at a ceremony Wednesday: the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service.

"This has been a long journey, but a glorious one," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii., who lost his right arm fighting with the 442nd and was one of the honorees Wednesday.

About 1,250 people attended the award ceremony at the Capitol. About a quarter of those present were former soldiers, now in their 80s and 90s. Hiroshi Kaku, originally from Hawaii, served in the 442nd and his older brother, Haruo, served in the 100th. He said he volunteered for the Army because he had something to prove.

"We wanted to show American citizens that we loved our country," Kaku said. "We were born and raised here."
Go for broke, indeed. The 442nd became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service. Think about that. It's truly difficult to grasp and articulate the enormity of what these men willingly sacrificed for a nation that treated them and their families so poorly.

There's been a great deal written about the extraordinary contributions of Japanese Americans during World War II, and yet I'm constantly astounded by how little Americans really know about their sacrifice. For many, today's award came too late. It's the least Congress could give. More here: Japanese-American vets honored.

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