12.19.2007

'The Christmas Tree Regiment'

During WWII, Japanese-American citizens began to be moved from internment to relocation centers, entered the U.S. work force and just as quickly were fired when angry townspeople demanded it of employers.

“At the same time the number of Japanese-Americans serving in the U.S. Army continued to grow, reaching 33,000.

“‘I’ve never had more wholehearted, serious-minded cooperation from Army troops,’ Lt. Col. Faron Turner said of the all-Japanese 100th Infantry Battalion, which fought with great distinction in Italy and France.

“The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which also fought in Italy and France, was known as ‘The Christmas Tree Regiment,’ because it became the most decorated unit in the entire Army.

“In seven major campaigns, the combined 100th and 442nd suffered 9.486 casualties and won 18,143 medals for valor, including almost 10,000 Purple Hearts.

“In addition, almost 16,000 Nisei served in military intelligence in the Pacific, translating captured documents.

“At Topaz, Manzanar, Poston, Heart Mountain and other relocation camps, the parents of fallen heroes accepted the extraordinary honors on behalf of their sons. The color guard turned out as the medals of the dead were pinned on their mothers’ blouses

“The familiar sadness of the ceremony was multiplied by its setting: a tawdry, tarpapered barrack surrounded by strips of barbed wire, which denied the parents of the honored soldiers the very freedom for which their sons had died.”

- Doris Kearns Goodwin, “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the Home Front in WWII.”

~~~

In this season of faith, love and hope, let our prayer ever be,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14

7 comments:

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