Thursday, November 10, 2011

Library Board President's Remarks at 5th Annual VHP Breakfast

Barbara Nakashini, the President of the Board of the Niles Public Library District, speaks to the veterans and guests as she shares her family's participation in World War II. Her father, Harry Gembala, is a Veteran,who served in the Army with the Occupation Forces in Japan for a year just after World War II. Her Uncle Walter, who was in the audience, served with the Army in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star.

Her father-in-law, Masahe Nakanishi, now deceased, was part of the Army’s 442nd Combat Regimental Team unit, which was comprised entirely of Japanese-Americans. He, along with thousands of Japanese-Americans, had been removed from their homes in California and placed in interment camps. He joined the Army and fought in Europe with the famed 442 whose famous motto was "Go for Broke."

She called attention to the ceremony held that very day in Washington when Congress would award its highest civilian honor to the Japanese-American soldiers who fought in World War II. Dozens of the veterans, known as Nisei, a Japanese term for children born with American citizenship, were at the Capitol to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in the war. The medal is the highest civilian award given by Congress. Her husband Joe's two brothers represented the family at the ceremony.

Mrs. Nakanishi provided these two pictures of the hard-earned medal.

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