Seventy years ago next December 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, forcing America into World War II.
Among the victims of the Japanese attack were approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans who were placed into internment camps for the duration of the war, because of their ethnicity.
But their sons served honorably in World War II and contributed mightily to the victory over both Japan and Germany, with a segregated unit winning more medals, honors and awards than any other unit of World War II.
Now, Congress has seen fit, as of November 2, to honor the veterans who served and those who died through the awarding of Congressional Gold Medals in a ceremony in the US Capitol Visitor Center, presided over by Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The most touching moment was the speech of Senate President Pro Tem Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who has served longer in the Senate than anyone but the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.
Wounded seriously in World War II, and recuperating in a hospital alongside former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, Inouye went on to become the most famous Asian American politician in the history of Congress, and if he serves in office until June 29, 2014, he will have become the longest serving senator in US history, surpassing Senator Byrd.
On Veterans Day, it is appropriate that we honor and commemorate those heroic Japanese American soldiers who did their duty despite their families being interned, as they fought for freedom and democracy!