February 2, 2012
Vol. VII, No. 2
Japanese American Veterans Association
White House. President Barack Obama offered his personal congratulations to four Nisei World War II veterans for the award of the Congressional Gold Medal at a White House breakfast on November 11, 2011. In recognizing the hard won efforts of Kelly Yeiichi Kuwayama, Minoru Nagaoka, and Terry Shima, former soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team as well as of Victor Matsui, a former soldier in the Military Intelligence Service, the President said, "Congratulations on winning this high award. I regret I was on travel in Europe which precluded my participation in the Capitol Hill presentation ceremony. (However,)…I am sure you saw my letter and I also cut a video to be presented at your dinner."
Mr. Shima, on behalf of the veterans remarked, "Mr. President, we appreciate your support of veterans and your remarks about the Nisei who were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Japanese Americans are proud to be the recipients of the highest honor the nation can confer."
The President then responded, "I was told there will be no group photos. However, let's make an exception for the 442nd." With that order from the Commander-In-Chief, the Nisei soldiers proudly posed with the President.
All four Nisei were invited to the White House at the request of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. The breakfast is a traditional annual event on Veterans Day, arranged by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), for representatives of DVA recognized veterans service organizations. One such organization is JAVA, which was represented by Mr. Bill Houston and Lieutenant Colonel Mark Nakagawa, US Army (Ret), both members of the JAVA Executive Council.
Terry Shima 301-987-6746; firstname.lastname@example.org