Hawaii parade honors Japanese-American WWII vets

December 17, 2011 - 3:00 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — Hundreds of Japanese-American World War II veterans are being honored with a parade in Honolulu — nearly 70 years after they volunteered to fight for their country even as the government branded them "enemy aliens."

The event Saturday celebrates the Congressional Gold Medal the veterans received last month.

About 200 of them will ride through Waikiki in convertibles, troop carriers and trolleys.

The veterans' World War II service came as many questioned their loyalty to the United States, and some enlisted from internment camps.

Fragile health prevented many from traveling to Washington, D.C., to attend a ceremony at which the medal was presented.

Two-thirds of the Japanese-Americans who served were from Hawaii.

The medal recognizes those from the 100th Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service.