AMERICAN HEROES: NISEI WWII SOLDIERS AND THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

by National Veterans Network

Support this historic Congressional Gold Medal tour that shares an extraordinary story about 19,000 young Japanese Americans who served the U.S. in World War II to prove their loyalty while many of their families were incarcerated in internment camps.



This page my not be compatible with all versions of Internet Explorer. If you are having trouble making a donation, please switch your browser (Firefox or Chrome are recommended). If you would like to make a donation over the phone, please don't hesitate to contact WeDidIt at 347.425.1257 to speak with one of our consultants.


Color guards from the 442nd RCT stand at attention while their Presidential Unit Citation is read in Bruyeras, France.

Nearly seven decades after the beginning of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal was collectively bestowed on the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service. The Congressional Gold Medal honors the Japanese-American men who served with bravery and valor on the battlefield, even while their families were held in internment camps by the very country for which they fought. The 100th and 442nd became one of the most decorated unit of its size and length of service in the U.S. Army. With a motto of “Go for Broke”, their determination to succeed against all odds was extraordinary.

The National Veterans Network and Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) have partnered to share the story and Medal in an exclusive national tour at the nation’s top museums: 

National World War II Museum, New Orleans, La. – Jan. 12-Feb. 17, 2013
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii – March 9-April 14, 2013
Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, Calif. – May 4-June 9, 2013
De Young Museum, San Francisco, Calif. – June 29-Aug. 4, 2013
Oregon Historical Society, Portland, Ore. – Aug. 24-Sept. 29, 2013
Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Ill. – Oct. 19-Dec. 8, 2013
Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, Texas – Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 24, 2014
At the conclusion of the tour, the Medal will be on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

With over 4,000 Purple Hearts, 450 Silver Stars, 7 Presidential Unit Citations to 100th/442nd and 2 Presidential Unit Citations to MIS and 21 medals of Honor , including the Congressional Medal, these units have truly displayed fierce courage, resolute perseverance and a lifelong love of country. The national tour of the Congressional Gold Medal will share their inspiring story with people all over the United States and demonstrate the power of the human spirit rising above racism, prejudice, and fear in defense of the cherished principles of liberty and justice. It is with great honor that the National Veterans Network is able to work with the Smithsonian to present this national tour and tribute to the divinely courageous Nisei soldiers.

 

 
SHARING THE STORY

Accompanying the medal is an educational package titled the “Congressional Gold Medal Experience” (cgm.si.edu) that includes a social learning website and curriculum developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Center. The website which will be displayed on iPads in the exhibit features a short video on the Congressional Gold Medal, as well as video testimonials of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), and Military Intelligence Service (MIS) veterans – all focused values of courage, respect, humility, perseverance, compassion, and citizenship. The overall goal of this program is to create a dynamic, constantly-growing, social learning community of users focused around the character values that are associated with the Japanese American veterans. 

The “Congressional Gold Medal Experience” will be accessible both at the exhibit and on mobile phones. The application will be introduced to school districts for students to share their own experience inspired by the stories of the 100th, 442nd and MIS. All stories will contribute to a national dialogue that will take place on the Congressional Gold Medal website that will be active throughout the tour. Additionally, teachers will have access to inquiry and project based lessons and educational resources that have been developed by Japanese American nonprofits and organizations nationwide. The lessons are cross-curricular and will align with the new Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies and Technical Standards.

COMPASSION: Pfc George Morihiro, 442nd showed kindness to a little orphan from the St. Joseph orphanage at a 4th of July Red Cross party given by the 442nd RCT. He had made sure she had plenty of sweets to eat. Lecco, Italy.



Congressional Gold Medal (front) 


WHAT IS THE CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL

The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation’s highest civilian award bestowed by the United States Congress. It is awarded to persons who have performed an achievement that has an impact on American history and culture that is recognized as a major achievement in the recipient’s field long after the achievement. The first recipient of this prestigious award was given to George Washington in 1776. Over the course of 230 years, 150 have received the award. Notable recipients include Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and US Presidents.

Brig. General Frank Merrill, Commander of “Merrill’s Marauders” in Burma, poses between his Japanese American interpreters, T/Sgt. Herbert Miyasaki of Paaulie, HI and T/Sgt./ Akiji Yoshimura of Colusa, CA.  Nautical Burma
 

WHO ARE OUR NATIONAL SPONSORS

AARP

Cole Chemical

Comcast/NBC Universal

Japanese American Veterans Association

Pritzker Military Library

The Shiratsuki Family

Spirit Mountain Community Fund

Southwest Airlines 


BACKGROUND ON NATIONAL VETERANS NETWORK

The National Veterans Network (NVN) is a national coalition that advocates and collectively works together to educate and enlighten the public about the experience and legacy of the Japanese American WWII soldiers. NVN represents eight regions of the Unites States and is comprised or veteran organizations and civic organizations who are committed to advance this legacy with a goal to educate the greater American public. 

In 2009-2011, NVN worked on S 1055 to support the passage of a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service. After its successful passage in both houses, the National Veterans Network and living members of the 100th, 442nd and MIS veterans witnessed the signing of the bill by President Obama. Subsequently, NVN worked with the United States Mint on the design of the medal, and then with United States Congress to plan the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Through the efforts of the coalition, 2500 veterans and family members came to the nation's capitol to witness the awarding of the medal to the three units. 

In 2012-14, NVN is working in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution on a seven city traveling tour of the Congressional Gold Medal that will launch in January 2013. The coalition organizations will work closely with each of the seven museums to increase awareness of the exhibition and to plan educational programming for the public. Additionally, to accompany the exhibit, NVN is producing a iPad based interactive app and social learning web site that introduces the 100th, 442nd and MIS through the character values of courage, compassion, humility, perseverance, respect and citizenship. 


The National Veterans Network’s fiscal sponsor is the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington DC. Tax ID# 95-4255318.  All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.  Visit the NVN website at www.nationalveteransnetwork.com.


REWARDS DESCRIPTION:

$15,000 reward - The date of the dinner with Secretary Norman Mineta will be scheduled based on his availability within a six month period from the time the award is issued.  Two round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines will be offered 
for use only from cities where Southwest Airlines flies. The one night hotel accommodation is for a single room, double occupancy.

$10,000 reward  - an American Express gift card will be issued up to $100 to use for the restaurant of your choice. 
DONATE

$82,575 RAISED

$100,000 GOAL

This Campaign 313 83%
has ended. Believers Funded
This campaign has ended.