“Rarely has a nation been so well-served by a people it has so ill-treated. For their
numbers and length of service, the Japanese Americans of the 442nd Regimental
Combat Team, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, became the most decorated
unit in American military history. By the end of the war, America’s military
leaders in Europe all wanted these men under their command.”
President Bill Clinton, June 2000, awarding Medals of Honor to 20 Japanese American
veterans whose heroic actions took place more than half a century earlier
The men in these units fought with exceptional valor. Many in the MIS
took exceptional risks. But those who were interned during the war
years also exhibited courage. Some showed it through compliance,
others through resistance, still others by volunteering.
During the war, Hitler personally ordered the 36th “Texas” Division to
be annihilated so they couldn’t fight on German soil. The 442nd was
sent in to save them and suffered casualties two to three times higher
than the 211 men they rescued.
This is an extraordinary example of courage. Hundreds of men gave
their lives to save their fellow countrymen. They knew that, without
help, their comrades would be slaughtered. The 442nd fought
desperately to save them.
After the war, people showed courage by quietly rebuilding lives,
families and businesses without complaint.
Still others showed courage by dedicating their lives to the cause of
civil liberties, fighting racism, and educating people about America’s
“concentration” camps. Their goal: to prevent this episode in American
history from ever again being repeated…for any race or group.