Second-generation Okinawan receives Presidential Citizens Medal

February 14, 2013 Hideki Matsudo of Ryukyu Shimpo reports from Washington D.C.

On February 8, the White House announced that 90 year-old second-generation Okinawan Terry Shima from Hawaii has received the Presidential Citizens Medal.
During World War II, Shima joined the U.S. Army 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was made of up of men of Japanese descent and later became a director of the Japanese American Veterans’ Association. The ceremony will be held on February 15 at the White House, and Shima will receive the citation from President Obama.

The Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest award given by the president, is to honor people who served the country or fellow citizens. This year, Shima and another 18 nominees were selected from among nearly 6000 nominees.
“It is a real honor, and I am very glad to receive the award. It is significant for my comrades who lost their lives during the war in Italy, France and the Pacific,” said Shima.

Shima’s parents were from what was Haneji, now Nago City. In 1944, he joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and was deployed to Italy but did not need to participate in combat because the fighting ended the day that he arrived. He went on to serve as an administrative officer on the board of education and as a director of the Japanese American Veterans’ Association.

(English translation by T&CT, Hitomi Shinzato and Mark Ealey)

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