Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers
and the Congressional Gold Medal
Benjamin Green-Field Gallery
Open through December 8, 2013
On November 2, 2011, this Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award, was presented collectively to the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service – the Nisei soldiers of World War II. It was bestowed in recognition of their dedicated service, extraordinary accomplishments, and sacrifice during the war. Nisei – “second generation” – are children of Japanese immigrants, born and educated in America.
The men in these units, almost entirely of Japanese ancestry, from both Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, fought with uncommon bravery and valor against our nation’s enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even as many of their parents and family members were held in American internment camps. Their record demonstrates an abiding faith in the American dream and provides an indelible testimonial to the meaning of American patriotism.
Developed by the Smithsonian in collaboration with the National Veterans Network, the national tour of American Heroes is made possible by the support of lead sponsor Cole Chemical and additional support from AARP, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, Southwest Airlines, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.
The Chicago History Museum is grateful to the Nikkei WWII Veterans Tribute Committee, Pritzker Military Library, and SITES for their support of our installation and programs. Special thanks to our collaborating partners: Chicago Japanese American Council, Chicago Japanese American Historical Society, Chicago Nisei Post 1183, Japanese American Citizens League-Chicago Chapter, Japanese American Service Committee, and the Japanese Mutual Aid Society of Chicago.
The Chicago Park District's ongoing support makes this and every exhibition and program possible.