MIS veteran Grant Ichikawa receiving the Congressional Gold Medal from then-House Speaker John Boehner during a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Nov. 2, 2011. Also pictured: Sus Ito (left) and Sen. Daniel Inouye (right).

WASHINGTON — The National Veterans Network (NVN) will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the historic day the Congressional Gold Medal was bestowed to Japanese American World War II veterans of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service by Congress on Nov. 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C.  

A 30-minute virtual event will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Hawaii, highlighting the two-year journey of the nationwide effort of 23 WWII veteran organizations and nonprofits to secure the Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal that culminated with the historic ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

The virtual event will feature interviews from the principals of the national effort, including bill sponsors Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and former Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), the U.S. Mint, the Smithsonian Institution, WWII veterans, national leaders, and principals representing organizations actively involved in the passage and celebration of the Congressional Gold Medal.

“The awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal was the result of a unified national effort that brought together 23 organizations nationwide with a collective goal to honor the Japanese American WWII soldiers in recognition of their extraordinary service,” shared Christine Sato-Yamazaki, NVN executive director. “We invite WWII veterans, veteran families and friends to learn about the Congressional Gold Medal journey in remembrance of their parents, grandparents and uncles on this historic day that brought the long-awaited recognition to the Nisei veterans.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’ highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions. 173 recipients have been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal since its inception and its first recipient, George Washington in 1776.

Schiff initiated the legislation in the House as H.R. 347 and it was passed in May 2009.  Following this, the NVN supported Boxer’s work in the Senate on behalf of the legislation with a 16-month nationwide grassroots campaign to secure 73 co-sponsors. Senate Bill 1055 was passed on Aug. 2, 2010 and signed into Public Law 111-254 by President Barak Obama on Oct. 5, 2010.

The NVN thanks the Aratani Foundation, Charles and Helen Moriyama and the JA Community Foundation for sponsoring this anniversary event.

You can find additional information at www.nationalveteransnetwork.com/NiseiCGM or email info@nationalveteransnetwork.com. 

NVN’s mission is to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry in order to promote equality and justice. The organization 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, the organization 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).

Beginning in 2017, NVN worked with the National Museum of the U.S. Army to gather artifacts from Japanese American WWII soldiers and their families that resulted in a special exhibit dedicated to Japanese American WWII soldiers when the museum’s opening in 2020 along with artifacts and information located throughout the museum.

In 2020, the NVN in collaboration with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center developed elementary and middle school curriculum. The NVN continues to honor the American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry by promoting, protecting, and preserving their legacy of uncommon valor and selfless service for future generations.

Visit www.nationalveteransnetwork.com and follow the NVN on Facebook (NationalVeteransNetwork), Twitter (@NtlVetNetwork) or Instagram (nationalveteransnetwork).

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