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Nisei veterans receive belated honors in Washington

By Gregg K. Kakesako

LAST UPDATED: 12:56 p.m. HST, Nov 01, 2011

It's taken nearly seven decades, but today nisei war veteran Don Masuda finally received a Bronze Star for his World War II service in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in a Washington, D.C., ceremony.

Masuda, 90, was among about 40 nisei warriors receiving overdue medals during a ceremony at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The World War II veterans and their families also visited the World War II?Memorial on the National Mall and the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism.

Today’s ceremonies are a prelude to the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to members of the 100th Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service Wednesday at the Emancipation Hall of Congress.

The medal, one of the nation’s highest honors, recognizes the service of more than 26,000 nisei who fought in Europe and Asia during World War II. Many of them volunteered from mainland internment camps, where their families were sent after Japan's attack on the Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. About two-thirds of the men were from Hawaii.

More than 1,250 honorees, including 330 Nisei veterans, will attend the ceremony. The program will begin at 5 a.m. Hawaii time and will be carried by the Pentagon TV channel and can also be seen online live at www.pentagonchannel.mil. Organizers also are hoping that the ceremony will be part of C-SPAN cable network programming on Wednesday.

 About 60 veterans from Hawaii traveled to Washington, D.C., from Hawaii. There are 27 nisei veterans from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 14 from the 100th Battalion and the 19 from the Military Intelligence Service. Their flight over the weekend was greeted by fire trucks, which sprayed water over their arriving plane.

Masuda described this morning’s 90-minute program as "very emotional."

"There were tears in the eyes of many of them," said the Nuuanu resident.


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ebo wrote:
GO FOR BROKE! They fought for our freedom which we take for advantage today.
on November 1,2011 | 10:21AM
sarahm808 wrote:
This was so late in coming and I wish my Dad and Uncle were alive today. They both served in the 100th with the MIS. We are losing our Nisei veterans who sacrificed for us. Kodomo no tame ni...
on November 1,2011 | 10:33AM
sohappy2beme wrote:
Your family should be proud of the sacrifices of your Dad and Uncle. I too wish this honor had come so much earlier so that more of our brave soldiers could have been part of this great honor. There will never be another group of individuals like the 442nd, the 100th and the MIS, who fought so selflessly for our country. This must be a very bittersweet day for you and your family.
on November 1,2011 | 11:51AM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Thank you 442nd and 100th for all you did for your country. You make Hawaii proud! I recommend the docu-movie made by a Japanese director, screened last year at Ward, called "442- Live With Honor; Die With Dignity". Our daily trials pale in comparison to what these brave soldiers endured during WWII. Go For Broke!
on November 1,2011 | 10:49AM
cojef wrote:
As a memember of the MIS, feel proud this day that our Nation is giving recognition to us for our war efforts. What we experienced at home during those dark days should not have happened to any citizen no matter what their ethnic background. War hysteria was used by unthoughtful racist to single us as scapegoats and caused untold hardship and grief to our families. Due to our cultural background and our parents fortitude (gan- bari), we were able to overcome the discrimations and distrusts and proved our loyalty beyond any doubts. I feel thankful and privleged for having survived to witness this day.
on November 1,2011 | 11:17AM
IWAKUNI wrote:
I know I probably mentioned this before, but I wonder if you knew my grandfather. He was imprisioned in Manzanar for three years before getting out to join MIS, and he served during the occupation in Japan.
on November 2,2011 | 12:27AM
IWAKUNI wrote:
I know I probably mentioned this before, but I wonder if you knew my grandfather. He was imprisioned in Manzanar for three years before getting out to join MIS, and he served during the occupation in Japan.
on November 2,2011 | 12:27AM
Anonymous wrote:
I believe there should be a permanent, perpetual honor for these wonderful Hawaii Nisei veterans. I recommend that we build and maintain a Museum specifically for these Hawaii Nisei Veterans, to be located at Ft. DeRussy in Waikiki. The Hawaii Legislature should appropriate funds to build it, and private donors should be asked to match the funds. A full length movie, similar to that on Finding Private Ryan, should also be commissioned, telling the great story of these brave men.
on November 1,2011 | 11:21AM
sohappy2beme wrote:
I feel so touched and honored for these brave men who fought for our freedom even in the face of hostility, prejudice and ridicule. I get chicken skin whenever I think of them and seeing the picture of this brave man being wheeled in the airport just humbles me. There is no amount of gratitude that we can bestow upon them--how many of us would fight for a country that turned their backs on our people? Put our families in concentration camps? All because of our ethnicity? They say Japanese are proud people. But they are also the most humble people I have ever met and they deserve ever accolade coming their way--if only it had come earlier so that more of them would have been alive to receive those honors.
on November 1,2011 | 11:44AM
miz wrote:
My dad pasted away on August 16, 2011. He never talked much about the war and never bragged about doing anything special for his country. I grew up with these men and enjoyed xmas parties , picnics etc... and enjoyed their friendship. I only wish this ceromony could of came around years sooner so many more could expierence the recognition . Anyway their efforts nad sacrifices will not be forgotten .
on November 1,2011 | 12:35PM
Okage sama de, Nisei veterans, we of the succeeding generations have been enable to pursue our dreams without the obstacles that you faced. We owe an unrepayable debt to you all, one that I assume with eternal gratitude. GO FOR BROKE!
on November 2,2011 | 07:12AM
"able" instead of "enable".
on November 2,2011 | 07:35AM
"able" instead of "enable".
on November 2,2011 | 07:35AM
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