Left: The 442nd Regimental Combat Team received a citation for its battlefield gallantry. France, 1944. Courtesy National Archives. Right: Nisei Congressional Gold Medal obverse. Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly seven decades after the beginning of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal — the nation’s highest civilian award — was bestowed collectively on the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service for their extraordinary accomplishments in the war.

The men in these units, composed almost entirely of persons of Japanese ancestry, fought with bravery and valor against America’s enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even while many of their parents and other family members were held in internment camps.

The National Veterans Network has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program to share this extraordinary story during an exclusive seven-city tour. The Congressional Gold Medal and accompanying educational app, available at cgm.si.edu, will highlight the stories of these important and honored Americans.

Cole Chemical is the lead sponsor for the national tour. Additional support provided by AARP, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki family, Southwest Airlines, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.

“American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal,” last shown at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, runs from June 29 to Aug. 4 at the de Young Museum, located at 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.; Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.; closed Mondays. Admission: adults, $10; seniors (65 and over), $7; youths (13-17) and college students with valid ID, $6; children 12 and under, and Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco members, free. Admission is free for everyone on the first Tuesday of the month; special exhibition fees still apply.

For more information, call (415) 750-3600 or visit http://deyoung.famsf.org/.

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