On behalf of those gathered here this morning, and more important, on behalf of those who cannot be with us, I thank the Leadership and Members of the Congress of the United States and the President of the United States for this extraordinary recognition.
Nearly 70 years ago, Pearl Harbor, a naval base in Hawaii, was bombed by the Japanese, and everything changed. Soon thereafter, the government of the United States issued a directive designating all Japanese, citizens of this nation and immigrants as 4-C. 4-C was the designation for an enemy alien.
We, gathered here, were designated enemy aliens of the United States. However, we did not sit by and do nothing. We petitioned the government to give us the opportunity to demonstrate our love of country and our patriotism. That opportunity was granted and thousands of men rushed to the draft boards to volunteer for military service.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was formed in 1943. The men of the 100th Infantry Battalion were those in service prior to December 7th, and the MIS was also established in 1943. When the war ended, the men of the 100th Battalion, the 442nd, and the MIS went home and found themselves declared to be members of the most decorated military unit in the history of the United States.
70 years ago we were enemy aliens, but today, this great nation honors us in this special ceremony. We, gathered here this morning, are all proud Americans, and grateful to our nation for giving us the opportunity to serve our nation as loyal, patriotic citizens.
We thank you and the people of the United States for this great honor.