The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Sunday as a Day of Remembrance for Japanese-Americans interned in government camps during World War II.
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas highlighted the work of the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute in reminding Americans of “a decision-making process clouded by hysteria and bigotry.”
On Feb. 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which resulted in more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast being rounded up and incarcerated in government-controlled relocation camps.
The order, which followed Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, was justified on the grounds of military necessity and national security.
In 1988, the federal government, led by President Ronald Reagan, issued a formal apology and paid out $20,000 in reparations to surviving victims.
Ridley-Thomas said it was a particularly “poignant” moment to recall the past.
“We should take stock of our moment in time right now with respect to others who are under the hammer of unconstitutional behavior,” Ridley-Thomas said.
Supervisor Janice Hahn recalled the history of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of Japanese-Americans who fought in World War II.
“These were men who went to fight for this very country (while), at the same time, their families were being interned,” Hahn said.
“One of the greatest moments for me in Congress was … (the presentation of) the Congressional Gold Medal to the survivors who served in the 442nd … the most decorated regiment in our United States military at that time,” she said. “… We can never forget. We must always remember.”
On Feb. 25, the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute will host a discussion with individuals once interned at Tule Lake and screen Konrad Aderer’s film, “Resistance at Tule Lake.” More information is available at www.jci-gardena.org.
-City News Service
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