Two days of festivities planned to celebrate Congressional Gold Medal

HISTORIC SIGNING — According to the National Veterans Network, veterans Osamu “Sam” Fujikawa (100th Infantry Battalion), Jimmie Kanaya (442nd Regimental Combat Team), Grant Ichikawa (Military Intelligence Service), Terry Shima (442nd), Kelly Kuwayama (442nd) and Sen. Daniel Inouye (442nd) plus others including Congressman Adam Schiff, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, Congressman Charles Djou, Congressman Michael Honda, JACL National Director Floyd Mori, National Veterans Network Chair Christine Sato-Yamazaki and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki were among those present at the Oct. 5 signing of the Congressional Gold Medal by President Barack Obama. courtesy of National Veterans Network

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Oct. 5 signed into law the congressional bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal collectively to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Nisei who served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II. Six Nisei World War II veterans and other officials participated in the approximately 30-minute historic event.

According to the National Veterans Network, there will be one medal for the men of all three units. Following the presentation, the medal will be retrieved and archived at the Smithsonian Museum. Individuals may purchase bronze replicas of the medal from the U.S. Mint at an approximate cost of $50, the National Veterans Network stated.

The presentation ceremony is expected to be held in the summer or fall of 2011 in Washington, D.C.

The National Veterans Network (NVN), a coalition of 23 Japanese American veterans and civic organizations formed one year ago to assist in the passage of the Senate Bill, S-1055, will continue to work with Washington officials to plan a two-day program, according to Sato- Yamazaki.

Sato-Yamazaki said the Washington, D.C. festivities will include a congressional ceremony hosted by congressional leaders; a gala dinner to honor the World War II veterans, widows and next of kin; the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery where some 69 Japanese Americans soldiers are interred; a 45-minute program at the World War II Memorial; and a 60-minute program at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism,

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, introduced the legislation into the House last year. It passed by a vote of 411-0. The Senate passed Sen. Barbara Boxer’s, D-CA,  bill on Aug. 2 by unanimous consent and the House gave the bill final passage on Sept. 23.

For current updated information on the Congressional Gold Medal visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com.

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