Los Angeles Regional Gold Medal
What a day! A deep marine layer of clouds provided the perfect sunshade for the almost 1,800 veterans, their families, dignitaries, well wishers, and volunteers who gathered at the Go For Broke Monument on Saturday, June 9th, for the Los Angeles Regional Congressional Gold Medal Celebration.
David Ono, KABC 7 news anchor, served as Master of Ceremonies. Bronze Star Medals were presented to 29 veterans and next of kin, and Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) replicas were presented to 160 veterans and 139 widows and next-of-kin of Nisei soldiers who were killed in action.
It was an overflow crowd as families and friends filled the risers at the Go For Broke Monument.
As veterans and guests were taking their seats, Ann Hashisaka and GFBNEC Board Chair George Nakano read the names of Los Angeles area veterans who have passed away.
GFBNEC President Don Nose welcomed everyone, noting, "Being a Sansei who greatly benefited from their sacrifices, I'm elated to see multiple generations of Sansei, Yonsei and Gosei, family members and the many volunteers who are paying tribute to these men today."
In his keynote address, Major General (Ret.) Rodney Kobayashi noted, "I personally want to thank the soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service for your sacrifice, your distinguished service, your valor and your courage. As you accept our appreciation for your service, you represent every soldier who served in your distinguished unit, especially those who are no longer with us. You have set the bar for me and all the generations to follow, you are my heroes."
It was an honor to have Congressman Adam Schiff on hand to assist in the presentation of the CGM replicas to the veterans.
"I knew their story," said Schiff. "But it's one thing to know their story and yet another to meet these men — to get to know their quiet heroism, their self-effacing humor, their wonderful, genial personalities. To get to know them convinced me that this was a story that needed to be told and retold, and it needed to be impressed upon a new generation of Americans."
As he recounted Executive Order 9066 sending Japanese American families to camp, Schiff noted, "And most remarkable of all, here was a group of people that answered that call to defend that country with no guarantee that when they returned, it would live up to the ideals that they had been asked to fight and die for. Not only did these men go on to serve but they served with such distinction that man for man for their length of service they are the most highly decorated combat veterans of any war."
Schiff was joined by Reps. Judy Chu, Maxine Waters, and Lucille Roybal-Allard, as well as Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry, as they handed each veteran or surviving family member a bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal.
Our thanks to The Reverend Mark Nakagawa and The Reverend Noriyuki Ito for their invocation and closing prayers, and to all who participated in the program.
As the crowd thinned and volunteers began to clean up, the warm June sun peeked through the marine layer clouds and began to heat the granite face of the Go For Broke Monument, as if to say that the nation would always look warmly upon the 16,000 men whose names are etched around the base of the Monument.
At the conclusion of the program, celebration attendees enjoyed refreshing foods and beverages compliments of many supporters: juicy strawberries (Tanaka Farms), manju (Fugetsu-do Confectionary), ceremonial cake (King's Hawaiian Bakery), cupcakes with a patriotic theme (Karen Gee), senbei (Kameda USA, Inc.), shaved ice (Tri-Star Vending), bottled water (Board Member Carol Kwan and L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina), and coffee (Starbuck's Coffee Company and Cafe Dulce).
Our thanks to the over 300 volunteers, most of whom are listed on this volunteers page, plus many others who came on the morning and pitched in to help with parking, registration, ushering, refreshments, and the myriad other tasks for an outdoor event of this size.
This ceremony was a joint effort of the Go For Broke National Education Center, the 100th/442nd Veterans Association, MIS Veterans Association of Southern California, 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans, Japanese American National Museum, JACL-Pacific Southwest District, Japanese American Bar Association, and Japanese American Cultural and Community Center.