SALT LAKE CITY -- A local lawmaker of Japanese descent on Monday sponsored a resolution honoring the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a highly decorated World War II unit of Japanese-American soldiers.
The bill, HCR 5, was personal for Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, who introduced a two-page resolution designating Feb. 18 as Congressional Gold Medal Day for World War II veterans of Japanese descent.
Oda's father was among those who left detention camps to serve.
Specifically, the resolution recognizes veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Nisei Military Intelligence service.
A number of local veterans and their families were on the House floor as the resolution was read.
Oda's father was among the Japanese-American population detained in Minidoka County, Idaho, after the onset of the war with Japan.
"My father tried to enlist, but they were told, 'You're the enemy,' then they were all drafted," Oda said.
Approximately 120,000 people of Japanese descent were moved to the internment camps, and approximately 13,000 Japanese-American soldiers served in the U.S. military during war, Oda said.
House members passed the resolution unanimously. The passage was followed by a standing ovation for the local veterans.
Meanwhile, the Ogden City Council and Mayor Mike Caldwell are expected to approve a joint proclamation to honor members of the same units, recognizing Feb. 18 as Congressional Gold Medal Day in the city.
Members of the team were recently awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Casey Kunimura, an Ogden-area resident who was a member of the unit, will be at the Ogden meeting to accept the joint proclamation.