The Japanese Americans interned at Minidoka were an indispensable labor source for southern Idaho's agricultural-based economy. 2,4000 Minidoka residents worked in agriculture during the 1943 harvest. Despite the internment experience, most Japanese-Americans overcame the initial feelings of loss and despair and remained intensely loyal to the United States. In 1943, the U.S. Army formed a segregated all-Japanese-American combat unit, the legendary 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team which fought in Italy and France, becoming the most decorated unit of its size in American military history. The greatest numbers of volunteers in the 442nd came from the Minidoka Center, giving the Seattle Japanese-American community one of the highest WWII service records of any nationality/ethnic group in the nation. Approximately 1000 evacuees from Minidoka enlisted in the military and 73 soldiers whose families were interned at Minidoka died fighting for their country. The families, because they were interned, could not attend the funerals. In January 1945, the War Department began allowing internees to return to the West Coast. The Minidoka Center officially closed on October 23, 1945. After the camp was decommissioned, the Bureau of Reclamation offered the land for homesteading to veterans. Farmhouses and irrigated fields now occupy much of the former site of southern Idaho's WWII concentration camp. The relocation camp experience was a severe test of the character and loyalty of the Japanese-Americans. For those interned, life in the camps was a bitter experience but, in the long run, served to promote widespread acculturation and acceptance into the mainstream of American society. In 1952, the McCarran-Walter Act nullified racial restrictions in the Naturalization Law, which opened the U.S. to Japanese immigration, and allowed for the first time resident Japanese aliens to apply for citizenship. Today, all that visibly remains of the Minidoka Wartime Relocation Center is the lone lava rock chimney tower and portions of a building wall, a solemn reminder of a complex and significant chapter in American history. On January 17, 2001, a presidential proclamation established the 72-acre Minidoka Internment National Monument in order to preserve and protect the legacy of this unique and irreplaceable historical resource.