Asian Americans To Get Medals

sen. daniel inouye democrat hawaii AP

Moving to right a wrong that's more than 50 years old, President Clinton Wednesday will award the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest commendation for military bravery, to Asian-American heroes of World War II, reports CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter Maer.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who lost an arm in the war, is the best known of the group. George Sakato will also receive the long-overdue honor.

Of the 21 honorees, 14 did not live to see this day.

In a White House ceremony, President Clinton will present the Medal of Honor to seven men. Most were among thousands of second-generation Japanese who volunteered to fight for America despite Washington's decision to send their families into relocation camps.

They mostly served in a segregated Army combat team and infantry battalion, which together became the most decorated unit of its size in the war. However, until today, only one member had been given the Medal of Honor.

The ceremony follows a three-year review by the Pentagon that found Asian Americans slighted by the selection process.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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