Nearly seven decades after the beginning of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) was collectively bestowed on the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service by Congress in 2011. By the time you read this article the wonderful festivities surrounding the visit of the CGM Smithsonian Tour stop in Portland will be just a pleasant memory. Hopefully you got to visit the Oregon Historical Society and attend some of those activities as the Congressional Gold Medal is now on its way to the Chicago History Museum for an October 19th opening and the Holocaust Museum in Houston, Texas for a visit that opens on December 26th before it finally returns to its permanent home at Smithsonian’s American History Museum in Washington, DC.
Senator Ron Wyden speaks with Antoinette Hatfield, Sho Dozono and Consul General Furusawa before the start of the Opening Ceremony at the Oregon Historical Museum. (Photo by Curtis Suyematsu)
We were honored to have Senator Ron Wyden and Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki in town and participating in the opening day ceremonies to honor our veterans.
Most importantly, we were able to have 18 of our surviving World War II veterans from the Portland and Seattle areas attend the luncheon that was held in their honor on August 24th. The Opening day program wrapped up at the Hilton Hotel with the showing of Searchlight Serenade with Artist Amy Uyeki giving a brief introduction to the documentary. Portland’s own Minidoka Swing Band played after the screening and everyone had a wonderful time dancing to the music of the forties.
Pictured left to right: Tex Irinaga, 442nd Veteran, Lynn Longfellow, Executive Director of O.N.E., Kaz Oda (seated), 442nd Veteran, Richard Iwata, MIS Veteran, Christine Sato-Yamazaki, Chairperson, NVN, Setsy Larouche, Past Commander, Oregon Nisei Veterans, Consul General Furusawa, Consulate of Japan in Portland, Kerry Tymchuk, Executive Director, Oregon Historical Society, and Mrs. Antoinette Hatfield, Widow of Senator Mark Hatfield. (Photo by Curtis Suyematsu)
We are grateful for the sponsors for the CGM events which included The Oregon Nikkei Endowment, The Oregon History Museum, The Smithsonian, the National Veterans Network, Cole Chemical, AARP, Comcast/NBC Universal, JAVA, The Pritzker Military Library, Southwest Air Lines and The Confederated Tribe of Grand Ronde. Portland JACL was pleased to join the local supporters who were The Freeman Foundation, Japanese Ancestral Society of Portland, KGW News Channel 8, KINK FM, The Bill Naito Family, Samuel T. and Mary K. Naito Foundation, The Oregonian, Oregon Nisei Veterans, Portland Business Alliance, Pat & Trudy Ritz, and the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee.
And lastly, putting on such an event to honor our Nisei veterans involved a team of hundreds of people to help make this happen. At the risk of forgetting to mention someone, I’d like to thank Lynn Fuchigami Longfellow and Connie Masuoka of the Oregon Nikkei Endowment for their organizational skills to make it all come together, to Ron Iwasaki and Setsy Larouche, current and past commanders of the Oregon Nisei Veterans for all the “military” aspects of the event, including getting the veterans themselves to the venue, to Curtis Suyematsu and Rich Iwasaki for the photographic documentation of this historic event and to Sho Dozono who was a key leader in making sure the Portland local fund raising effort was successful.
Board Member Message by Chip Larouche
Chip Larouche, Setsy Larouche, Cameron Smith, Kerry Tymchuk, Sho Dozono, Senator Ron Wyden, Mrs. Antoinette Hatfield, Secretary Eric Shinseki, Anna Cohn, Christine Yamazaki, Lynn Longfellow
Shig Imai, Sam Naito, Tex Irinaga, Ace Hiromura, Shigeo Kuroye, Dan Hinatsu, Richard Iwata, Tosh Okamoto, Mr. Watanabe
Lorry Nakatsu, Ben Soejima, Mark Namba, Art Iwasaki, Joe Onchi, Kenji Yaguchi, Ed Fujii, Kaz Oda, Roy Matsumoto (Photo by Curtis Suyematsu)