Smithsonian Tour of Congressional Gold Medal Awarded to Japanese American World War II Veterans Makes Last Stop at Holocaust Museum Houston
HOUSTON, TX (Dec. 6, 2013) – Nearly seven decades after the beginning of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal – the nation’s highest civilian award – was bestowed collectively on the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) for their extraordinary accomplishments in the war.
The men in these units, comprised almost entirely of persons of Japanese ancestry, fought with bravery and valor against America’s enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even while many of their parents and other family members were held in internment camps.
The National Veterans Network has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program to share this extraordinary story during an exclusive seven-city tour, including its last stop this winter at Holocaust Museum Houston.
The exhibit “American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal” opens Dec. 19, 2013 and runs through Jan. 26, 2014 in the Museum’s Morgan Family Center, 5401 Caroline St. in Houston’s Museum District. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Commonly known as the “Go For Broke” regiments, the 100th/442nd is one of the most highly decorated units in U.S. military history, having earned more than 4,000 Purple Hearts, 560 Silver Stars, seven Presidential Unit Citations and 21 Medals of Honor. The MIS, whose highly specialized contributions helped hasten the end of the war, was honored with a Presidential Unit Citation in 2000. More than 19,000 Japanese American soldiers served in these units during World War II.
The medal is accompanied by an iPad application, social-learning Web site and curriculum available at cgm.si.edu. This educational package was developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. Centered on the character values associated with Japanese American veterans —courage, respect, humility, perseverance, compassion and citizenship — these materials will provide users with a constantly growing social-learning community.
Visitors can share their own stories or the stories of people who inspire them by visiting "The Congressional Gold Medal Experience" at cgm.si.edu.
During its Houston run, the exhibit will be accompanied by a series of public films, lectures and other presentations on the extraordinary accomplishments of these American heroes during the war. Visit www.hmh.org for a complete listing.
The exhibit has previously been on view at some of the top museums in the country, including the National World War II Museum in New Orleans; the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, De Young Museum in San Francisco, Oregon History Museum in Portland and the Chicago History Museum in Chicago.
At the conclusion of the tour, the Congressional Gold Medal will be on permanent display in “The Price of Freedom” exhibition at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.
The National Veterans Network is a coalition of Japanese American veteran and civic organizations representing eight regions in the United States that advocates on a national level to educate and enlighten the public about the experience and legacy of the Japanese American World War II soldiers.
Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park, nine research centers, and numerous educational and cultural programs. To learn more about the collaborating Smithsonian offices involved in this project, visit sites.si.edu, americanhistory.si.edu and apa.si.edu.
The national tour of "American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal" is made possible by the support of lead sponsor Cole Chemical, AARP, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, Southwest Airlines and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.
Local community partners include the AARP, Asia Society Texas Center, BP America, CenterPoint Energy, Green Bank, Donna Cole, Kathleen and Glen Gondo, Japan-America Society of Houston and the Japanese American Citizens League Houston.
Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. Holocaust Museum Houston is free and open to the public and is located in Houston’s Museum District at 5401 Caroline St., Houston, TX 77004.
For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.
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Holocaust Museum Houston is free each Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Memorial Day (May 25, 2015), D-Day (June 6, 2015), Kristallnacht (Nov. 9, 2015) and International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27, 2015).