On Sunday, February 26, 2012, over 450 people at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland attended a local celebration of the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM).
The Oregon Nikkei Endowment (ONE) and the Oregon Nisei Veterans (ONV) with Lynn Fuchigami Longfellow serving as event committee Chair organized the event. Kyle Iboshi served as the Master of Ceremony from KGW News Channel 8 Television.
Twenty veterans from the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal that were presented by Congressman Earl Blumenauer and retired Lieutenant General Joseph Peterson and Brigadier General Bruce Prunk. They were assisted by Marine Corporal Craig Leedham, grandson of the late Kay Akiyama, 442nd RCT and Chloe Longfellow, granddaughter of the late Walter Fuchigami, MIS. The Oregon National Guard graciously provided the color guard and the quintet wind ensemble.
Front Row L to R: Shizuo Kondo, Leke Nakashimada, Hakuzo Nitta, Jim Onchi, Larry Saito, Noboru Takashima, Akira (Ike) Iwasaki, Art Iwasaki, Kazumi Oda; Second Row: Shig Imai; Back Row L to R: Eisaku (Ace) Hiromura, Lorry Nakatsu, Kenji Yaguchi, Ben Soejima, Joe Onchi, Mark Namba, Sam Naito, Jimmie Mizuta, Shigeo Kuroye, Tex Irinaga
Mari Watanabe, Executive Director of ONE, gave a brief history of the process of the National Veterans Network took to assure the CGM would be awarded to our veterans. We were honored to have LTG Peterson who gave an inspiring keynote address into the real meaning of the words that make up the “Pledge of Allegiance.” Setsy Sadamoto Larouche, ONV Commander, presented special certificates to other veterans from WWII to honor their duty and sacrifice. Erica Naito-Campbell, granddaughter of the late Bill Naito, MIS, produced a video honoring all Oregon Nisei veterans. The video was narrated by Kevin Kaufman and presented by Wesley Campbell, grandson of the late Bill Naito, MIA. The moving program concluded with Nola Bogle, a former internee, leading the entire audience in a rousing rendition of America the Beautiful.