Local Medal Ceremony to Honor Japanese American WWII Veterans on Feb. 19, 2012
The Central California District of the Japanese American Citizens League will award replica Congressional Gold Medals to local Japanese American World War II veterans at the 2012 Day of Remembrance Luncheon on February 19. The local ceremony follows a national medal ceremony held in Washington D.C. last month.
“This year’s Day of Remembrance will pay special tribute to all our Nisei veterans who bravely risked their lives on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific to defend our country,” says Dale Ikeda, event co-chair. “Because many of our local veterans could not travel to the Capitol for the national ceremony, we wanted to take the opportunity here at home to pay tribute to their courage and patriotism.”
The Day of Remembrance is a national observance remembering Executive Order 9066, which led to the forced internment of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Fresno County was the only location that had two temporary assembly centers where internees were held before being sent to permanent internment camps. The Pinedale Assembly Center held 4,832 internees from outside of the area. The Fresno Assembly Center held 5,344 internees who were mostly from the Central Valley.
Veterans or their spouses will receive replica medals identical to those awarded at the Washington D.C. ceremony. A grant from the Nisei Farmers League is covering the cost of the medals and other expenses for the veterans. The Day of Remembrance will be held at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building on Fourth Street and is co-sponsored by the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.
The obverse of the medal depicts the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and includes the 442nd RCT’s motto “Go for Broke”. The reverse depicts the insignias of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service. The 442nd RCT, which later included the 100th Battalion, became the most highly decorated military unit in U.S. history. The MIS translated and interpreted Japanese military communications in the Pacific.
The local planning committee is working with the National Veterans Network and other organizations to locate Nisei veterans from the Central Valley. While the national replica medals were awarded specifically to the 442nd, 100th and MIS, Ikeda emphasizes that the local event will honor all Nisei World War II vets, including those who served in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) and Women’s Army Corps (WAC). Family members of veterans who have passed away can contact Ikeda for more information at 313-9322 or [email protected].
Tickets are $40. A veteran and a guest, or a spouse of a veteran and a guest, are invited to attend free of charge. A reception will start at noon, followed by lunch and the medal ceremony at 1 pm. Reservation deadline is February 12, 2012. To RSVP, contact Bobbi Hanada at 434-1662.
The Japanese American Story of Internment and Redress
By Dale Ikeda
Presented at Kochi University on July 1, 2011
Mina-san, Konnichiwa. My wife, Debbie, and I are pleased to join you at Kochi University. It is an honor to address members of the Kochi University community. Thank you. As Co-Chair of the Fresno-Kochi Sister Cities Committee, I thank the people of Kochi Prefecture for being warm and gracious hosts of the Grassroots Summit. We are having a wonderful time. Arigato gozaimasu.
My topic is “The Japanese American Story of Internment and Redress.” The main focus of my remarks and the photos relate to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. It is a story not well known even in America. Please raise your hand if you knew that the American government imprisoned over 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry, mostly American-born citizens, for three years during World War II.
Civil Liberties Act of 1988
In 1970, the Japanese American Citizens League at its National Convention adopted a resolution to seek redress for the loss of liberties and property of those impacted by the exclusion and internment orders. Thus began a 20-year battle for redress.
JACL and the Japanese American legislators, Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Spark M. Matsunaga and Representatives Norman Y. Mineta and Robert Matsui, were successful in obtaining Congressional approval for the creation of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1980. After extensive research and hearings around the country, the Commission found that military necessity did not warrant the exclusion and detention of Japanese Americans. It concluded that the “broad historical causes which shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.” As a result, “a grave injustice was done to American citizens and resident aliens of Japanese ancestry who, without individual review or any probative evidence against them, were excluded, removed and detained by the United States during World War II.” The Commission recommended monetary compensation of $20,000.00 per internee as a symbolic payment to redress the government’s actions.
The House of Representatives passed the Act on the 200th Anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The House bill was numbered HR 442, in honor of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese American unit that fought in Europe during World War II. The Senate Bill, SB 1009, was passed by the Senate on April 20, 1988, by a vote of 69 to 27.
All that was left was to convince President Reagan to sign HR 442 into law. As a captain in the Army, President Reagan had presented a Distinguished Service Cross to the family of Kazuo Masuda, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, posthumously. Captain Reagan stated, “The blood that has soaked into the sands of the beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world, the only country not founded on race, but on a way ‑ an ideal.” On August 10, 1988, President Reagan signed H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. President Reagan stated at the signing ceremony, “Here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.”
The first redress payments to Central California residents were made at a ceremony in the Federal District Court in Fresno on October 12, 1990. Assistant United States Attorney General John Dunn presented President George Bush’s letter of apology and $20,000 checks to Shigeto Thomas Ito (92), George Masumi Sakai (92), Neal Nishino (93), Sumino Yemoto (97), and Fuji Hashimoto (102). He stated, “The root meaning of redress is ‘to rearrange’ or ‘set in order again.’ Its meaning today, according to Webster’s dictionary, is to remedy or rectify, to make amends for wrong done or injury inflicted. While we know we cannot ‘rearrange’ our past and we cannot undo the harm and injustice of the internment and relocation, we can make amends.”
The letter from President Bush states, “In enacting a law calling for restitution and offering a sincere apology, your fellow Americans have, in a very real sense, renewed their traditional commitment to the ideals of freedom.”
John Tagami’s Tribute to Nisei Veterans
Thanks for that introduction, Jeannette. I’d like to thank JACL and Dale Ikeda for inviting me tonight to pay tribute to the Nisei veterans of WWII. Because of time constraints, I am taking the liberty of confining my remarks to veterans of the Military Intelligence Service.
When I was growing up, we sansei had very few role JA models in mainstream culture. I loved Kato from the Green Hornet and Mr. Sulu from Star Trek. Kato rocked; Sulu was cool as a cucumber. But even as a kid, I knew that they were just supporting players, never the main guy. Fortunately, we had real-life role models who took second billing to no one – the soldiers of the 100/442.
The 442 were the icons of our childhood: all of us knew bits and pieces of their legend: the assault on Monte Cassino, the battle at Anzio, the Rescue of the Lost Battalion, and the countless awards, including (now) 21 Medals of Honor, they earned. We took vicarious pride in the success of “Go for Broke” veterans like Senator Inouye.
But we knew very little about another group of deserving Nisei soldiers, the Military Intelligence Service, mainly because their activities were kept secret and also because they were fewer in number — only 3000 served in the war.
A quick review of why the MIS experience was special.
First, unlike the 442 as I’ve said, the MIS performed their work in secret. If their existence had been known, the information they gathered would have been useless or even used against our own side. In contrast, the heroics of the 442 were widely publicized, and rightly so, of course.
Second, MISers were the first of the Nisei to enter the war. The first MIS graduates were deployed six months after Pearl Harbor, in the Aleutians and later the Southwest Pacific. They performed so well that they influenced the War Department’s decision to approve formation of the 442 the next year. So, if there had not been an MIS, there might never have been a 442.
Third, unlike the 442, the MIS fought directly against the Japanese. Even as the patriotism of AJAs at home was questioned, the MIS were already serving in action against Japanese soldiers — sometimes even against brothers, as was the case for at least one MISer, Harry Fukuhara. In doing so, they ran the risk of being killed by our own troops – they often had to have white escorts, even to use the latrines.
Fourth, the MIS was a support service, not an operational unit. They were attached to combat units in the field, in ones and twos and small teams, wherever needed. Because of this, they served over a wider geographic area, from Alaska to Australia, from the Marshall Islands to China, and were present at every major battle and campaign in the Pacific.
Finally, although MISers saw combat, they didn’t always experience the sustained, intense fighting, or enormous casualties, that the 442 did. Not many did. But their work – interrogating prisoners, translating captured documents, going on patrols to eavesdrop on the enemy – helped commanders win battles and reduce casualties, and thus had a broad impact on the war effort. There’s no doubt that they saved thousands of lives and shortened the war.
Richard Sakakida, for example, was an undercover spy in the Philippines; he was eventually captured and treated very badly, but lived to organize a spy network and engineer a prison break for hundreds of Filipino commandos.
Harold Fudenna intercepted a radio transmission that led to the ambush of Admiral Yamamoto’s plane. An interesting sidenote: before the attack, a general told him that if he, Fudenna, made a mistake in the translation, and that it turned out to be a trap for American fighter pilots, he would be personally blamed.
In Saipan, Bob Kubo was one of a number of MISers who crawled into caves armed with only a flashlight and a sidearm to convince desperate Japanese soldiers to surrender. By the way, Bob won the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions.
In Burma, Kenji Yasui swam a river and impersonated a Japanese colonel to trick Japanese soldiers out of hiding. Similarly, Roy Matsumoto of Merrill’s Marauders, during one engagement, called out in Japanese to get the Japanese soldiers to attack prematurely, leading to an easy victory.
After the war, the MIS also had a unique role to play. MIS interpreters were present on the USS Missouri when Japan surrendered. And they were there throughout the Occupation, assisting at the War Crimes Tribunal, working on land reform laws, and drafting the new constitution, and performing many other activities.
They helped cement US-Japan relations and make possible the Japanese economic miracle. So even now, when you turn the key in your Toyota Camry hybrid or your kids boot up the Sony Playstation, think: MIS.
Today, the story of the MIS is much better understood thanks to the work of leaders like Norm Mineta and Dan Akaka and organizations like the National Japanese American Historical Society and its Bldg 640 project (preservation of the original MIS language school at the Presidio of San Francisco), the Go for Broke Education Foundation with its Hanashi oral history program, and of course the JACL with the Pinedale veterans memorial at Remembrance Plaza being dedicated tomorrow.
My father, Kan Tagami, was an MIS veteran from nearby Selma. Shortly after he was drafted, he was assigned to guard a motor pool across from Dimaggio’s Restaurant in San Francisco. One evening, a patron staggered out of the restaurant, having had a little too much to drink. He sees my dad in his uniform holding a rifle, throws up his hands and runs off into the night, shouting, “Holy cow, the Japanese have landed!” (He didn’t actually use the words “Holy Cow” or “Japanese”.) In retrospect, I have often thought that that gentleman was probably more right than he knew – the Japanese did land, and holy cow, what a great thing.
Because if the Issei had not landed on these shores, and had not raised Nisei sons who would serve with such distinction in the armed forces, it would be a very different world for you and me.
Thank you, and thank you for all you to do to help preserve and pass down the story of the Nisei veterans.
Four Hirabayashi Cousins: A Question of Identity by James Hirabayashi
The sudden onset of World War II on December 7th 1941 thrust the issue of identity to the forefront for all Japanese Americans. On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorizing the War Department to prescribe military areas from which any or all persons may be excluded. This order served as the basis for Lt. General John L. DeWitt to issue the curfew and exclusion orders. Public Proclamation No. 3 established a curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for Japanese Americans in Military Area No. 1 and requiring them to stay within a five-mile radius of their homes. The implementation of the exclusion order began on March 24, 1942, and by October, 1942, all Japanese Americans were removed from the West Coast incarcerated in hastily constructed concentration camps, also known as relocations centers.
From: The Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee, a joint committee of the Central California Nikkei Foundation and the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League
To: Fresno City Council
Re: Designation of Building 8 located at 7435 N. Ingram Avenue, Fresno, to the Local Register of Historic Resources
The Historic Preservation Commission unanimously voted to nominate Building 8 to the Fresno City Council for designation to the Local Register of Historic Resources on November 28, 2005. The Fresno City Council will conduct a public hearing to consider the designation on January 10, 2006. Building 8 has historic significance due to its use as a warehouse by the Sugar Pine Lumber Company and its inclusion in the Pinedale Assembly Center and Camp Fresno during World War II. Building 8 is part of the site acquired by the Army on March 22, 1942.
The primary interest of the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Committee (“Committee”) is in the use of the site as an assembly center to intern 4823 Americans of Japanese ancestry from May 7, 1942, to July 23, 1942. It is part of a larger story of the internment of Japanese Americans during the War, the story of the Japanese American soldiers who fought in World War II to prove their loyalty to America and the struggle for redress, which resulted in a Presidential apology and recognition of the rights of Japanese Americans as citizens of this great country. Within the context of this broader story, the site has local, state and national historic significance. The Committee does not want to impede the developer’s plans to demolish the building so long as an appropriate memorial is established on the site with interpretive materials to explain the historic significance of the site.
The California Office of Historic Preservation has reserved California Historic Landmark No. 934 for the Pinedale Assembly Center, a temporary detention camp for Japanese Americans as a first phase of the mass incarceration of 97,785 Californians of Japanese ancestry during World War II. This is compelling if not conclusive evidence that the site has state historic significance. Pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, thirteen makeshift detention facilities were constructed at various California racetracks, fairgrounds and labor camps. These facilities were intended to confine Japanese Americans until more permanent concentration camps, such as those at Manzanar and Tule Lake in California, could be built in isolated areas of the country. Beginning on March 30, 1942, all native-born Americans and long-time legal residents of Japanese ancestry living along the West Coast were ordered to surrender themselves for detention. The Pinedale Assembly Center was used to intern residents of Sacramento and El Dorado Counties in California, Oregon and Washington.
The site of the Pinedale Assembly Center also has national historic significance. The Manzanar War Relocation Center was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1985 and has been incorporated into the National Park Service with an Interpretive Center. Senator Dianne Feinstein has asked Interior Secretary Gale Norton to have Tule Lake War Relocation Center declared a National Historic Landmark. Many of those interned at the Pinedale Assembly Center were relocated to Tule Lake, where they were forced to stay for nearly three years. On November 16, 2005, the House of Representatives passed by unanimous voice vote HR 1492, the Camp Preservation Bill. The Bill would create a $38 million grant program to preserve sites where Japanese Americans were detained during World War II, including the Pinedale Assembly Center. The legislation is designed to be flexible. Matching grant funds may be used to create interpretive or educational facilities in lieu of preserving structures.
The Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee (“Committee”) was established by the Central California Nikkei Foundation (“Foundation”) and the Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League (“JACL”) to promote a memorial project for the Pinedale Assembly Center. The Foundation is a non-profit corporation which operates a senior center and assisted living facility and sponsors educational programs. The JACL is the oldest and largest Asian American human and civil rights organization in America. The Committee is being assisted by Paul Saito and Irv Miyamoto. Mr. Saito is a landscape architect and designed the landscape for the Shinzen Friendship Garden at Woodward Park and the Fresno Assembly Center Memorial Project. Mr. Miyamoto is an architect and designed the gazebos at the Shinzen Friendship Garden.
The Foundation and the Central California District Council of JACL successfully collaborated with the Fresno District Fair as co-sponsors in the creation of the Fresno Assembly Center Memorial Project. Americans of Japanese ancestry from Central California were temporarily interned at the Fresno Fairgrounds during World War II. A California Historic Landmark was dedicated at the Fresno Fairgrounds on February 19, 1992, marking the 50th anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066. The inscription on the Landmark reads: “This memorial is dedicated to over 5,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined to the Fresno Fairgrounds from May to October 1942. This was an early phase of the mass incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. They were detained without charges, trial or establishment of guilt. May such injustice and suffering never recur.”
The Committee urges the City Council to designate Building 8 to the Local Register of Historic Resources or require the developer to participate in the creation of an appropriate memorial project on site with interpretive materials as a mitigation measure for its demolition of Building 8. The memorial should utilize materials from Building 8 as a symbolic way of preserving a portion of Building 8. The memorial could also encompass historic treatment of the Sugar Pine Lumber Company and Camp Pinedale as well as the Pinedale Assembly Center. The Committee would be happy to collaborate with the City of Fresno and community groups to develop an appropriate memorial.
For more information, contact: Dale Ikeda, (559) 313-9322 (cell), Chair, Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial Project Committee
Honorable James A. Ardaiz Speech
[Speech given February 19, 2007, by the Honorable James A. Ardaiz, Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, at the groundbreaking ceremony for Remembrance Plaza concerning the Pinedale Assembly Center]
Sixty-five years ago today this spot where we now stand was part of mostly barren land on the outskirts of the small San Joaquin valley community of Fresno and the much smaller community of Pinedale. At that time, to envision that it would have any significant place in the history of this country would not be conceived of by anybody. Sixty-five years ago it was simply one more patch of alkaline soil in what were then endless acres of valley land.
On that day so long ago, our country was pitched in war. All of the chaos, suspicion, fear, courage, cowardice, nobility of spirit and failure of resolve that are part of such conflict confronted us. We can look back now on our victory in World War II as symbolic of noble human endeavor―of sacrifice, of courage and of triumph. But we can also look back on that time as bringing upon our nation a failure of character. On this day in 1942, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, setting in motion events unparalleled in our history, ultimately setting these few acres apart from the prairies, mountains and valleys of this nation and making this patch of ground a place to be remembered by succeeding generations.
As a consequence of Executive Order 9066 over 120,000 residents of the United States of Japanese descent, most citizens by birth, many from our own community, all caught up in the maelstrom of war, were detained and incarcerated in the name of national security, tarred with groundless whispers of suspected disloyalty. Four thousand eight hindered and twenty-three were brought here, others to the Fresno fairgrounds or to Santa Anita racetrack or to the Tulare fairgrounds or to other such places that could be used to house and control large groups of people in stables and tar papered barracks. They came here because of hate and suspicion and bigotry. They walked through the gates voluntarily in response to the orders of their government with young soldiers standing guard with bared bayonets. They remained involuntarily from May until July of 1942 before they were scattered to permanent detention centers with names like Manzanar, Jerome, Poston and Heart Mountain.
Out of these detention centers came the noble endeavors of the 100th Infantry Battalion of Hawaii and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, both forged from young Japanese American men, many of whom left their parents in those detention centers to volunteer to fight to prove their loyalty, whose exploits became the stuff of legends and whose blood purchased ground in the combat of Italy and France. Men who marched up a narrow ridge in the Vosges Mountains of France and rescued the over 200 men of the lost Texas battalion at the price of 800 of its own. Men who broke the Nazi gothic line helping to open the path into the German homeland. Men whose members would be among the first into Dachau, one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps. Men who would come to be known as the Purple Heart battalion, the most decorated military unit in American history. Such men walked on this ground.
But it is not for those exploits that this ground should be remembered. This ground should be remembered for the failure it represents: a failure to honor our constitution, a failure to honor our heritage of opportunity before the heritage of privileged birth, a failure to remember that those who were scorned by Executive Order 9066 were also our neighbors.
With the sweep of Executive Order 9066, the President of the United States gave the military the power to choose who should go and who should stay, where some could live and where some would live. It was a singularly un-American act and yet it was America’s decision. The leadership of this country allowed the anger over Pearl Harbor and the need to blame somebody to be focused on people who looked different. Our leadership was passive in the face of hysteria and hate. By our country’s actions we did not take money. We did not take land. We took days and years that cannot be given back. We took the one thing that Americans prize above all else. We took freedom away. And we took it away from innocent people. The result was a stain on our national honor that we have never been able to wash clean, even with apologies, even with redress. That our leaders could do such a thing, that our citizens could condone such a thing, that people would submit to such a thing is a lesson that should be marked by something other than fading memories of those who lived through it.
To mark a stain upon our heritage as a nation, to memorialize it not with pride but with acknowledgment, makes a statement to succeeding generations and to the world. To learn from history we must remember it. We must teach it. And we must admit our failures lest we repeat them blindly again and again.
So we stand here today to acknowledge the mistakes of our preceding generations, to honor those who were denied honor and to mark for succeeding generations a place of remembrance and a place to aspire that we have learned from the lessons of the past. By this monument for all to see we will mark this ground as once a place of hatred and shame. By this memorial acknowledging the sins of our past we will make it a place of hope for our future.
DOR ground-breaking remarks
By: Dale Ikeda
Feb. 19, 2007
Good morning. On behalf of the Pinedale Assembly Center Memorial project committee, let me add my welcome to this Day of Remembrance marking the 65th anniversary of Executive Order No. 9066. Our theme is “hate, healing, honor and hope.” In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the empire of Japan, fear, suspicion and hatred was mis-directed towards Americans of Japanese ancestry and resulted in their unjust internment by their own government for nearly three years in violation of their constitutional rights. The passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 providing for a presidential apology to the internees went a long ways to help heal old wounds. This memorial is to honor the Issei and Nisei, the first- and second-generation Japanese Americans, for their perseverance, sacrifice and courage. They kept faith in the American dream, proved their loyalty to this great country and paved the way for a better future for their children and future generations. This memorial will serve as a reminder of the injustice of the past, which we hope will avoid similar mistakes now and in the future.
The memorial will be known as “Remembrance Plaza.” At today’s ground-breaking ceremony, we will dedicate California Registered Historical Landmark No. 934. That will represent a down payment on the committee’s promise to participate in this project with the city of Fresno. Paul Saito will have more to say about the design of Remembrance Plaza next.
The project and the historical significance of the site has been unanimously recognized and approved by the Fresno Historic Preservation Commission, planning commission and city council. The committee especially thanks the city council for its strong support of this project. That support gave the committee the leverage and encouragement to press forward. We believe the current plan is respectful of the history of the site, is located in a prominent place and will permit the community to remember the history the site represents.
Remembrance Plaza will include an interpretive wall telling a truly American story of a group of Americans triumph over adversity. A storyboard will include the issuance of Executive Order No. 9066 and the forced removal of over 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry from the west coast and their detention during World War II. A storyboard will describe the exploits of the Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) who volunteered from America’s concentration camps to fight for freedon in Europe and the Pacific. A storyboard will explain the constitutional issues internment raised. In the Korematsu case, the United States Supreme Court upheld the policy of internment on the grounds of “military necessity.” Although Fred Korematsu’s criminal conviction was vacated in the 1980’s the supreme court decision remains on the books as the law of the land. A storyboard will explain the findings and recommendations of the commission on wartime relocation and internment of civilians. The commission found there was not justified, that a “grave injustice” was committed on Japanese Americans as a result of “war hysteria, racial prejudice and lack of political leadership.” A storyboard can acknowledge the nation’s recognition of its mistake by the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. It might have a photo of President Reagan signing the redress legislation with his comments, “what is most important in this bill has less to do with property than with honor. For here we admit a wrong. Here we reaffirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.” I also envision a storyboard with the letter from President George Herbert Walker Bush stating, in part, ‘words alone cannot restore lost years or erase painful memories. … in enacting a law calling for restitution and offering a sincere apology, your fellow Americans have, in a very real sense, renewed their traditional commitment to the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice.”
We are pleased to have Ambassador Philip Sanchez and David Rodriquez here to represent the community of Pinedale. Remembrance Plaza will also honor this community and remember the significance of the site as the location of the Sugar Pine Lumber Company, one of the largest and most technologically advanced lumber companies in the world in its day, and Camp Pinedale, a military base during World War II. Ambassador Sanchez is on our advisory committee. I look forward to Ambassador Sanchez’ remarks. David is a valued member of our committee and is co-chair of today’s event.
The Japanese American story remains relevant. We are pleased to express our support for the Muslim- and Arab-American communities. JACL was the first civil rights organization to stand up for those communities after the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001. In its press release the next day, JACL National President Floyd Mori stated, “we urge citizens not to release their anger on innocent American citizens simply because of their ethnic origin, in this case Americans of Arab ancestry. While we deplore yesterday’s acts, we must also protect the rights of citizens. Let us not make the same mistake as a nation that were made in the hysteria of World War II following the attack at Pearl Harbor.”
By preserving the Pinedale story, we hope to teach a lesson in history. The constitution alone does not guarantee perfection in the protection of the rights of our people. It takes people to ensure “justice for all.” Therefore, it is the duty and obligation of each generation “to strive to form a more perfect union” for ourselves and for the sake of our children.
Let me close by reading the full inscription on Landmark No. 934:
Pinedale Assembly Center
This memorial is dedicated to over 4,800 Americans of Japanese ancestry who were confined at the Pinedale Assembly Center from May to July 1942. This was an early phase of the mass incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II pursuant to Executive Order No. 9066. They were detained without charges, trial or establishment of guilt. May such injustice and suffering never recur.
California Registered Historical Landmark No. 934
Plaque placed by California state parks in cooperation with the City of Fresno, Japanese American Citizens League and central California Nikkei Foundation
February 19, 2007