Japanese-American troops to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Law recognizes 6,000 soldiers

President Barack Obama signed a bill Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010, granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American soldiers who fought during World War II, AFP reported.

The law recognizes some 6,000 Japanese-Americans born of immigrant parents who fought in Europe and Asia, even as the U.S. government forced their families to live in internment camps, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. According to the Navy Times, the soldiers were part of the Military Intelligence Service and the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team/100th Infantry Battalion, which eventually became the most highly decorated unit in the history of the U.S. military.

“While some Japanese-Americans were being wrongly interned due only to their ethnicity, these brave men stepped forward to defend our nation,” Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) said. “Their bravery helped to not only win the war, it paved the way towards a more tolerant and just nation. It will be a truly historic moment when President Barack Obama signs this honor for the Nisei veterans into law.”

The Congressional Gold Medal is one of the highest civilian honors presented to people who serve the security and national interests of the United States. Past honorees include the Wright Brothers, Rosa Parks, Navajo code talkers, the Tuskegee Airmen and the Dalai Lama.

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