The irony of Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye's war experiences has often been noted, but it bears repeating.
"Here we found ourselves to be enemies of the United States," the Senate's longest-serving Member said today in a ceremony kicking off a national tour of the Congressional Gold Medal won last year by his regiment and two other Japanese-American units in World War II. "But when the army created a [Japanese-American] regiment and called us up to serve, 75 percent of the eligible men applied."
Inouye, joined by California Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Doris Matsui, recalled for a rapt audience in the Capitol how he went off to fight while his Japanese-American countrymen sat behind barbed wire in internment camps.
As a 17-year-old high school senior, Inouye witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. "I remember Dec. 7 as if it were yesterday," he said.
When the military lifted its ban on Japanese-Americans serving in combat units in the fall of 1942, Inouye enlisted. More than five decades after the end of the war, he was awarded the military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Inouye's regiment, the all-Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, became the most decorated unit in the history of the U.S. Army. The other two units sharing in the Gold Medal were the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service.
The medal will travel to seven cities - New Orleans, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago and Houston - beginning in January.
After the tour, it will be on permanent display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.