Exhibit Honors American Heroes: Japanese-American WWII Nisei Solders & Congressional Gold Medal

The Japanese-American WWII Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) will be honored in an exhibit of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM), touring seven U.S. cities this year, as follows:

  • National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA:  January 12 – February 17, 2013
  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI:  March 9 – April 14, 2013
  • Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA:  May 4 – June 9, 2013
  • De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA:  June 29 – August 4, 2013
  • Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR:  August 24 – September 29, 2013
  • Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL – October 19 – December 8, 2013
  • Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, TX – December 21, 2013 – January 24, 2014

American Heroes

During its 6-week visit to Honolulu, March 9-April 14, Bishop Museum’s Castle Memorial Building will be the home of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM).  In addition to the Medal, exhibits from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and other related organizations will also be on display.  Two iPads programmed with CGM information from the National WWII Museum will also be part of the exhibit.  In addition, exciting weekly panel discussions and film and documentary screenings will also be presented throughout this exciting and historic engagement.

A private, invitation-only VIP breakfast reception and ceremony will precede the official opening of the exhibit on Saturday, March 9th.  The public is invited to tour the CGM exhibit, as well as other exhibits at Bishop Museum, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., that day, for free.  (NOTE:  More information on the panel discussions and other activities during the CGM exhibit will be provided in our next release.)

The National Veterans Network (www.nationalveteransnetwork.com), the organizer of the national tour of the Congressional Gold Medal, has also created a curriculum for teachers to use in class, to give their students a deeper understanding of the units the Medal is honoring, as an important part of our history.

The Congressional Gold Medal is a tribute to the thousands of Japanese-Americans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, commonly known as the “Go For Broke” regiments, and the Military Intelligence Service (or MIS) who dedicated their lives with honor and loyalty to the United States during WWII.

After the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941, Americans of Japanese ancestry became victims of discrimination and negative stereotypes, and over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-American citizens were held in internment camps throughout the United States.  Despite the many challenges they – and their families at home – faced, the soldiers in these units were among the most highly decorated in U.S. military history.  More than 4,000 Purple Hearts, 560 Silver Stars, 7 Presidential Units Citations, and 21 Medals of Honor were awarded to members of the GO FOR BROKE regiment.

Partnering to share these inspiring stories of valor and sacrifice are Bishop Museum, the National Veterans Network, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Congressional Gold Medal commemorative event is designed to celebrate these citizens and soldiers, and also to educate today’s youth who may have little recognition or understanding about these heroes.

 

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