More than 200 people attended the screening of Junichi Suzuki’s film 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity at the Smithsonian Institution’s Annual Day of Remembrance on Saturday, February 19, 2011, at the Carmichael Auditorium, National Museum of American History. The program commemorated the 69th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt that led to the imprisonment of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II.
As a freelance film director and producer from Japan, Junichi Suzuki provided a unique perspective on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an Asian American unit composed mostly of Japanese Americans that became the most decorated U.S. Regiment of World War II. Through this significant film, Suzuki hopes to share the relatively unknown history and legacy of the 442nd to both Japanese and American audiences.
Terry Shima joined the panel discussion as a surviving 442nd veteran. After returning home from the war, Shima recounted the 442nd’s march down Constitution Avenue where they were received by President Harry S. Truman at the Ellipse. In his message to the troops on July 15, 1946, President Truman declared “you fought not only the enemy but you fought prejudice—and you have won.”1 Despite internment, the 442nd affirmed their loyalty to the U.S. by heroically fighting in combat and risking their lives. Their victory abroad was a victory at home.
To find out more about this inspiring film, please visit www.442film.com
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This public program was sponsored by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program, National Museum of American History, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Japanese American Citizens League, and the Japanese American Veterans Association.
1 “Japanese Americans In America’s Wars: A Chronology | Japanese American National Museum.” Home | Japanese American National Museum. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://www.janm.org/nrc/resources/militarych/>.