Congressional Gold Medal on display in Honolulu

 UPDATED 5:51 PM HST Mar 08, 2013
HONOLULU -

Pride, legacy, and history are on display right now at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, along with a pretty cool piece of hardware.

It's a new display that's even awe inspiring for the people it's honoring.

It was a powerful moment for Yoshinobu Oshiro. It's his first look at an actual Congressional Gold Medal. A civilian's highest honor, right up there with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

And Oshiro knows honors, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011.

"It's a treasured moment for once in a lifetime," said Oshiro.

The award was presented to Nisei of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service for their dedication in World War II. Members of that battalion carry copies of the medal.

"When I saw that I thought OK, that's the real thing, rather than this is the replica," said Oshiro.

The recognition remains humbling to this day.

"It's a rare honor, there's only been 149 recipients in its entire history. The first recipient was George Washington in 1776, so to have this honor is truly unique," said Blair Collis, president of the Bishop Museum.

"The ones that we honor are really the ones that didn't return, the soldiers that didn't return," said Oshiro.

The medal's permanent home is the Smithsonian, but it's stopping in Hawaii for the time being, a natural fit, said Collis.

"I think there was a lot of will to have it here, Senator (Daniel) Inouye was a veteran of the 442nd and a Medal of Honor winner so that helps, but its certainly a national story and a Hawaii story," said Collis.

It's been a life story for Oshiro, a defining moment that came so early in life.

"That time we were still youngsters, I was still in high school," said Oshiro.

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