“The museum is stunning, and it is an honor to present this history in a way that shows the connection between the American soldier, the U.S. Army and the nation. We have worked hard to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors, and we are excited to open the doors of this long-awaited national museum,” said the museum’s director, Tammy E. Call.
For the past four years, the National Veterans Network (NVN) has worked closely with the National Museum of the United States Army to incorporate the service of the Nisei soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd RCT and Military Intelligence Service. The work done by the NVN resulted in the special exhibit dedicated solely to the service of Nisei soldiers to be displayed on the third floor of the museum.
The museum will dedicate the first temporary exhibit to showcase an unprecedented collection of Japanese American artifacts that capture the rarely told story of the Japanese American Nisei soldier during World War II. The exhibit highlights their struggles both at home and abroad, their courageous acts on the battlefield and their long-awaited recognition culminating in the Congressional Gold Medal awarded in 2011.
This temporary three-year exhibit will display the Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal, 12 rare WWII Nisei objects along with two interactive video kiosks that will include nine object-based stories and European and Pacific interactive maps. Photos and oral histories of over 70 Nisei soldiers will be represented in this exhibit.
“The NVN is grateful for the collaboration with the National Museum of the U.S. Army that enabled the Nisei Soldier stories to be brought to life with the special dedicated exhibit,” said Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director at NVN. “We gratefully thank all of the donors, sponsors, veteran families and community organizations nationwide who helped develop the Nisei soldier exhibit with us. The exhibit will be cherished by all who see it, and will help us continue to share the valiant stories of the soldiers with a national audience.”
Along with the dedicated exhibit, the stories of the Nisei soldiers will be told in three other areas of the museum: the Army & Society Gallery, the Soldiers’ Stories Gallery and the Medal of Honor exhibit. The Army & Society Gallery will be home to a display dedicated to the Japanese American soldiers and will include Sadao Munemori’s Medal of Honor along with five objects. Over 90 soldiers’ oral histories, photos and 26 objects of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd RCT and Military Intelligence Service will be represented in four areas of the museum in order to represent the overall experience of the Japanese American soldiers in World War II.
Following the Congressional Gold Medal bestowment on the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd RCT and Military Intelligence Service in 2011, the Nisei soldier exhibit in the National Museum of the United States Army is a significant national recognition for the Nisei soldiers.
National Museum of the U.S. Army, located on a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir, Va., will be the first and only museum to tell the entire history of the U.S. Army since its establishment in 1775. The 84-acre site was built to honor American soldiers and preserve the 240-year history of the Army. The museum’s Experiential Learning Center will provide visitors of all ages a unique opportunity to participate in hands-on, educational and team-building activities in the areas of geography, science, technology, engineering and math. The museum will open with enhanced health and safety measures for visitors. Free, timed-entry tickets are required to manage visitor capacity and provide an optimal experience to visitors.
Sato-Yamazaki shared, “The NVN is honored to work with the museum to share the stories of the Nisei soldiers. We encourage our veterans and veteran families to visit the museum to see the exhibit dedicated to their extraordinary service. We hope the exhibit inspires those who don’t already know the story to appreciate the courage and sacrifice these American soldiers made to preserve our freedom and way of life.”
The opening will be preceded by a small ceremony that will be livestreamed to encourage people around the world to participate in this historic moment. A link to the livestream will be posted on the museum’s website and social channels as soon as it’s available. For more information, visit http://www.theNMUSA.org. For more information about the National Veterans Network, visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com.
NVN is a consortium of organizations and individuals dedicated to educating the nation on the Japanese American WWII experience. The network launched the campaign to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the first Asian American recipients in the 100th, 442nd and MIS units, and worked with the U.S. Mint to design the medal. In 2012, they partnered with the National Museum of American History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service for a seven-city tour to promote recognition of the Japanese American experience. In 2016, along with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, NVN launched an online digital exhibition to share the story of Japanese American soldiers of WWII (cgm.smithsonianapa.org).
NVN’s mission is to preserve, educate and advocate how the Nisei Soldiers’ loyalty, courage, and patriotism embody American values and shape future decisions about justice and equality in a democracy. Visit the website and follow the NVN on Facebook (NationalVeteransNetwork), Twitter (@NtlVetNetwork) or Instagram (nationalveteransnetwork).