Greatest Generation Japanese American WWII Veterans Receive Congressional Gold Medal

The U.S. Congress held a ceremony on Capitol Hill on November 2, 2011 to award the Congressional Gold Medal, its highest civilian honor, to more than 1,000 Japanese-American veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II. Japanese-American contributions to the war are even more remarkable since their families were rounded up and confined by their own government. Many Japanese-Americans who fought in World War 2 were “Nisei”, Japanese Americans born in the U.S. Many of them and their families were placed in internment camps after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and they were also exempt from the draft. Nonetheless, about 19,000 Japanese-American soldiers volunteered for service. The award was presented collectively to the Army's three Japanese-American units that fought in the Mediterranean and European theatres - the 100th Infantry Battalion, nicknamed the Purple Heart Battalion, the "Go for Broke" 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Fighting their way through Italy, southern France and Germany, and finally sent to the Pacific Theater to serve as part of the occupation force in Japan, members of the 442nd made the unit the most highly decorated regiment in Army history. All told, the 13,000 soldiers serving in the regiment, received 21 Medals of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars and 9,486 Purple Hearts. One of those distinguished Medal of Honor winners, Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) took part in the ceremony. The 100th Battalion was absorbed by the 442nd , but initially was a separate unit. It was composed of men from Hawaii who were part of the National Guard. There were 3,000 Army trained linguists that served in the Asia-Pacific theater part of the MIS. These men had a numerous duties which included translating enemy documents, interrogating prisoners of war, and persuading enemies forces to surrender. Because of the nature of their work, MIS achievements have been classified and are just now coming to light. In 2010 Congress approved a special gold medal for the unit. President Obama signed the bill into law authorizing the award a year ago. A replica of the gold medal is given out to veterans, family members of deceased veterans, next of kin of soldiers killed in action and family members of veterans who took part in the ceremony. View our photos from the ceremony by clicking on the photo icons below. (All photos by Jeff Malet) View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="110352,110292,110287,110282,110277,110272,110267,110262,110257,110252,110297,110302,110347,110342,110337,110332,110327,110322,110317,110312,110307,110247,110242,110237,110177,110356,110172,110360,110167,110364,110162,110368,110157,110182,110187,110232,110227,110222,110217,110212,110207,110202,110197,110192,100365" nav="thumbs"]

Arts on Foot Festival in Penn Quarter (photo gallery)

Click below for our photo gallery from last weekend's Penn Quarter Arts on Foot Festival. This annual event is a visual and performing arts festival featuring Washington DC theaters, museums, and arts at a variety of venues in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, DC. The festival became an art walking tour with area restaurants, theaters, galleries, museums, and more than 100 visual artists participating and dozens of Downtown attractions hosting visual art exhibits, performances, workshops, demonstrations, films, concerts and children's activities. This year's event also featured commemorative activities to honor the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 including The 9/11 Arts Project. (all photos by Jeff Malet). [gallery ids="99231,103634,103639,103644,103649,103654,103659,103664,103669,103674,103629,103624,103619,103594,103695,103691,103599,103687,103683,103604,103609,103614,103679" nav="thumbs"]

Esperanza Spalding donates Nobel Prize dress to Smithsonian

Acclaimed bassist, singer and composer Esperanza Spalding donated the dress she wore for her performance at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for President Obama to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Monday, October 17. The donation continues the museum’s women in jazz initiative, which was launched in April as part of Jazz Appreciation Month. Spalding is widely acclaimed for her innovative blend of jazz, folk and world music with classical chamber music traditions, and was awarded the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011 for her second album, Chamber Music Society. To earn the Grammy, she beat out an impressive field, including teen idol Justin Bieber. Born in Portland, Oregon, Spalding studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where she went on to become one of the youngest professors in the history of the college at the age of 20. After signing the official deed that transferred ownership of the dress to the museum, Spalding expressed her gratitude to be honored by the Smithsonian by citing her own favorite quote of Duke Ellington with the following words. “He said, ‘Tomorrow is waiting in the wings for you to sound her entrance fanfare.’ And when I hear you speak of all these individuals who were beyond category, I think of the people who were in touch with that reality, that the world is of their making. When I think of making the future, I think of the value of understanding the past. I’m just so grateful and honored to be a part now of the history that generations can continue to look to for inspiration.” (Click on the icons below for our slideshow of the donation ceremony at the museum.) [gallery ids="100345,109162,109167,109172,109177,109182,109187,109192,109197,109202,109207,109212,109157,109152,109117,109233,109122,109229,109127,109225,109132,109221,109137,109142,109147,109217" nav="thumbs"]

Washington International Horse Show Gets Underway at the Verizon Center (photos)

The Washington International Horse Show (WIHS), a leading equestrian event in the U.S., celebrates its 53nd year in the nation’s capital, Tuesday through Sunday, October 25-30, 2011. This championship event, drawing leading horses and riders from around the nation and the world, is one of the few remaining major metropolitan indoor horse shows and is the pinnacle of the annual equestrian season. The show takes place each October at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., attracting the attention of tens of thousands of equestrians, non-equestrians, celebrities and politicos alike with events such as show jumping, dressage, hunter and equitation competition, plus Kids Day, Barn Night, special exhibitions, shopping and hospitality. This year, about 500 horses are expected to perform in the competition. More than $400,000 in purses will be given to the top riders. The highlights of this week’s competition are Friday night’s $25,000 Puissance class and Saturday night’s $100,000 President’s Cup grand prix. In Friday's Puissance, horses will jump the great wall until only one horse remains without knocking it down. The Washington International is the only remaining show in the US to offer this class. The record to beat is 7’ 7-1/2,” set at Washington in 1986. Riders will also gain valuable points to qualify for the World Cup Finals in April. The Washington International Horse Show is open to the public; children 12 and under receive free admission during the day. Two performances are held daily except Sunday. Daytime events generally end around 5 p.m. Children’s tickets are $10 in the evening, except for Friday and Saturday nights when tickets are $20. Adults tickets are $15 during the day and $20 in the evening, except for Friday and Saturday nights, when admission is $40. For those who wish to watch the events remotely, the show’s Web site will feature more than 70 hours of live-streaming video. View our photos from the early days events by clicking on the photo icons below. (All photos by Jeff Malet) View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="100348,109432,109427,109422,109441,109417,109445,109449,109412,109453,109437" nav="thumbs"]

‘Occupy DC’ Protesters Rally in Freedom Plaza (photo gallery)

Inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" protests in New York City, protesters gathered at Freedom Plaza in Washington to "Occupy DC" on Thursday October 6. View our slideshow from that protest by clicking on the photo icons below. (All photos by Jeff Malet). View additional photos by clicking here. Lots of people saw the beginnings of a revolution last week at Freedom Plaza Oct. 6 where well over 2,000 protesters gathered to oppose corporate greed, banks, Wall Street, untaxed millionaires and the American wars in the Middle East, especially Afghanistan, which marked its tenth year last week. On Thursday, rock bands and rappers sang, and hundreds upon hundreds of signs sprang up, including the demonstration’s theme of “Human Need, Not Corporate Greed.” Many of the signs were freshly painted on site. The protesters came from all over the country—red-skinned, square jawed Teamsters from Philadelphia, out-of-work-teachers and public employees from Wisconsin, a beaming veteran of the 1960s demonstrations, small business owners “just barely getting by,” artists and writers, veterans of our wars in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan. They were young, they were in their 70s, they were intellectuals, academics, hard hats and hard workers out of work. The sunny day helped the spirit of the occasion which was, while fueled by anger and angry slogans, friendly and welcoming. It was the kind of atmosphere that belied the simmering economic desperation of the times and the causes. I saw one man throughout the day, holding up a baldly-stated sign reading “I just lost my job.” He was thin, he had a thin beard and his arms would carry the sign straight up, two pieces of wood with a white banner. Alan Risinger, a small business owner with five employees, came from West Virginia with his four-year old blonde son Baraka. “I wanted him to see this,” he said. “It’s important. We’re barely getting by. We have a house cleaning business, and I pay my people just above minimum wage. That’s all we can do, and we can barely do that. It’s scary. When you see millionaires barely paying taxes, it just gets to you. We gotta do something.” His son was holding up a sign: “I know How to Share.” “He likes that one,” Risinger said. Some signs were more prevalent than others. The aforementioned “Human Needs, Not Corporate Greed” and a huge sign modeled after the Declaration of Independence seemed to be the protest’s signifier, “We the Corporations.” Dick Gregory, the legendary Civil Rights activist and one-time stand-up comedian was there, looking as he has of late like a biblical prophet. If the “Occupy Wall Street” rallies, which are still going on, seem directly focused on the economy, the “Occupy DC” rally is more of a hodge-podge, somewhere between pungent economic protest and an anti-war rally, along with other concerns. It was altogether human without some of the dramatics—zombies on Wall Street!—and street theater of the other rallies. And it was one of many—“Let’s Have an American Spring,” one sign read, and indeed rallies had spread all over the country, referencing of course the demonstrations and revolutions which were threatening to topple numerous Middle Eastern regimes. Republican congressman Eric Cantor called the demonstrators “mobs” but other politicians had praise for the spirit of the rallies, or stayed criticism. As many pundits pointed out, these rallies might have staying power, and besides, didn’t the Tea Party start this way? The signs told a rich, diverse story, which may be the biggest virtue and problem with the movement(s), which so far have failed to coalesce around any leaders or single umbrella. “I will believe that corporations are people when Texas (or Georgia) executes one,” one sign read. Others ran a chaotic gamut: “Welfare not Warfare,” “Support our Troops, Bring Them Home,” “We see Something So We are Saying Something,” “We are the Rebel Alliance,” “We Need Jobs,” “Confess Your Sins,” “We are the 99%.” During a sit-in, a blonde woman smiled beatifically and made the peace sign. “Berkeley, ‘68” she said. “I remember the tear gas.” The marchers got organized mid-afternoon and went down 14th Street to the White House, stopped and loitered, more or less, briefly flashing signs and saying hello to Concepcion Picciotto, who has been holding her lone demonstration against war and war-makers since 1981. Today, she had a stack of free copies of an anti-George Bush tome to hand out. One woman flashed a bitter sign: “Another single mother facing foreclosure.” A man from Wisconsin, here to help his son in Virginia with his business, said he had retired from a government job in Wisconsin. “You can’t believe what it was like there, cops, teachers public employees getting fired,” he said. “I’m trying to substitute teach, but there’s so many out-of-work teachers that it’s hard.” The demonstrators massed and moved to the Chamber of Commerce building where a huge JOBS sign was in evidence, which must have seemed brashly ironic to the protesters. They brought their own jobs signs. They blocked the entrance to the building doors, made speeches and marched on down back to McPherson Square where the “Occupy DC” group was camped. On Saturday, they were still there with tents, sleeping bags, some of them marching off to special focus demonstrations elsewhere. One group was gifted with a slew of Parliament cigarettes. “God Bless you,” one marcher said. “Them’s classy cigs. Parliament, don’t you know.” There was a man who had also come from West Virginia. He ran a green “Panhandle Horticulture” business in Martinsburg and had brought the sweet-tempered pit pull Hazel with him. “Exactly so,” he said. “It’s about time. Let’s hope we can get it together.” On Sunday, protesters went to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and caused it to close after trying to get in with signs and banners opposing the use of drone missiles. Museum guards sprayed them with pepper spray. For the most part, though, the peace signs prevailed. Even now, you can still hear the drums, the bells, the chants and the hum of people marching. [gallery ids="108297,108237,108232,108227,108222,108217,108212,108207,108202,108197,108242,108247,108292,108287,108282,108277,108272,108267,108262,108257,108252,108192,108187,108182,108122,108117,108112,108107,108301,108305,108309,108102,108313,108127,108132,108177,108172,108167,108162,108157,108152,108147,108142,108137,100324" nav="thumbs"]

Social Conservatives Gather in DC for Values Voter Summit (Photo Slideshow)

The annual gathering of more than 3,000 Christian conservatives and elected officials was a joint production of the Family Research Council and other social conservative groups. Gay marriage, abortion, religion and the upcoming presidential election dominated the discussion at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC on October 7-8, 2011. Featured speakers included most of the Republican Presidential Candidates. (All photos by Jeff Malet) Click on the icons below for the slideshow. View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="100325,108372,108377,108382,108387,108392,108397,108402,108407,108412,108417,108422,108427,108432,108437,108442,108367,108362,108357,108302,108463,108307,108459,108312,108455,108317,108451,108322,108327,108332,108337,108342,108347,108352,108447" nav="thumbs"]

Al Sharpton’s Rally for Jobs and Justice (photos)

Thousands of Americans led by the Rev. Al Sharpton rallied Saturday against the backdrop of the Washington Monument, calling for easier job access and decrying the gulf between rich and poor before marching to the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. (Saturday, October 15, 2011). Click on the icons below for our photo slideshow. (All photos by Jeff Malet) View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="109112,109042,109037,109032,109027,109022,109017,109012,109007,109002,108997,109047,109052,109057,109107,109102,109097,109092,109087,109082,109077,109072,109067,109062,108992,108987,108917,108912,109116,108907,109120,108902,109124,108897,109128,108892,108922,108927,108932,108982,108977,108972,108967,108962,108957,108952,108947,108942,108937,100344" nav="thumbs"]

Hoyas Overpower Colgate for Homecoming Victory (photos)

Georgetown defeated Colgate in a 40-17 Homecoming Football Victory on Saturday October 22 at Multi-Sport Field. The Hoyas have now won 6 games against only 2 losses and clinched a winning season record. The Colgate Red Raiders went to 4 and 4, but had won its previous 3 games. One of the stars was junior linebacker Robert McCabe of Newtown Square, Pa. who ran back an intercepted pass 50 yards for a touchdown and had a game high 15 tackles. Cornerback Jeremy Moore from New Haven, Conn. had seven tackles and two interceptions and blocked a punt. Senior placekicker Brett Weiss (Phoenix MD) made four field goals. The Hoyas, who came into the game with the nation's tenth best rush defense, held the nation's eighth best rushing offense to under half of its season average, while outrushing Colgate 162-121. Senior running back Wilburn Logan (Kingston, RI) led five Hoyas' runners with 73 yards on 11 carries. Georgetown’s next home game will be against Fordham on Nov. 5 at Multi-Sport Field for Senior Day. Click on the icons below for our slideshow. (All photos by Jeff Malet) View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="109397,109342,109337,109332,109327,109322,109317,109312,109307,109347,109352,109392,109387,109382,109377,109372,109367,109362,109357,109302,109297,109292,109401,109237,109405,109232,109409,109227,109413,109222,109242,109247,109287,109282,109277,109272,109267,109262,109257,109252,100346" nav="thumbs"]

Images from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication

Thousands gathered in West Patomac Park under clear skies on Sunday October 16 to help dedicate the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The event was originally scheduled for August but had to be postponed due to Hurricane Irene. Click on the thumbnails below for our slideshow. (All photos by Jeff Malet). View additional photos by clicking here. [gallery ids="108887,108827,108822,108817,108812,108807,108802,108797,108792,108787,108832,108837,108882,108877,108872,108867,108862,108857,108852,108847,108842,108782,108777,108717,108712,108707,108891,108895,108702,108899,108903,108697,108722,108727,108772,108767,108762,108757,108752,108747,108742,108737,108732,100343" nav="thumbs"]

Diosa Costello, First Latina Actress on Broadway, Donates Costumes to Smithsonian

One of the last living entertainers from the 1930s and 40s Hollywood and Broadway, Diosa Costello, a pioneering Hispanic performer, participated in an on-stage conversation on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Smithsonian Castle, sponsored by the National Museum of American History. The conversation with the 94-year-old Costello included the donation of 11 costumes, including her "Latin Bombshell" outfit and her costume from "South Pacific." Costello, born in Guayama, Puerto Rico, in 1917, began her career in Spanish Harlem. Her big break came as the co-star in the 1939 Broadway hit musical, "Too Many Girls," working opposite Desi Arnaz, Van Johnson and Eddie Bracken. Costello had supported the then-unknown Cuban entertainer Desi Arnaz, which resulted in his getting the role that launched his career in the U.S. She appeared in such Hollywood films as "They Met in Argentina" and "The Bullfighters" and frequently on Broadway, most notably as Bloody Mary in "South Pacific." Curator Marvette Perez said Costello paved the way for other Latinos and is one of the last living members of her generation. (photos by Jeff Malet [gallery ids="100293,107482,107477,107472,107491,107495,107467,107499,107503,107462,107487" nav="thumbs"]