Imagine if you were born in this country, or legally immigrated, and as a result of abominable actions by another country’s leaders, you were rounded up and herded into makeshift prison camps without legal redress or trial.
That’s exactly what happened to Japanese-Americans in this country in 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. While they were only imprisoned and not killed, some died while in captivity and weren’t around in 1988 when the Civil Liberties Act served to “acknowledge the fundamental injustice of the evacuation, relocation, and internment of United States citizens and permanent resident aliens of Japanese ancestry during World War II.”
Now in her 80s, my friend Eiko, now living in northern California, lived in one of those camps, Topaz, located near here in Delta, Utah. She been working on oral and written histories for various media and news organizations such as NPR. When I asked if she could share a few words about her experiences to commemorate the Japanese-American Day of Remembrance tomorrow, she was happy to do it.
I do hope you’ll stop by and read Eiko’s experiences. What I find about Eiko and many of our typewriter generation and older, is that she has learned to look for the positive side of this or any bad experience. That’s one of the pluses of growing older, I think.
For those of you lucky enough to be living in Utah, I understand there’s a museum and momument in Delta open to the public. I know it’s a day trip for me, and I hope to be able to fit it in sometime during my busy summer. I’ll be thinking of Eiko and her family every single minute.
The comment on positive attitude and aging caught my eye. The field of positive psychology has is a relatively new field and has delved into the “secrets of successful aging.” Positive attitude is certainly one of them. Not all seniors have this perspective. It is great to know that you can work on developing a positive outlook. Eiko is a good example for all of us. See this article “Aging gracefully is possible with a positive attitude” at http://www.dateline.ucdavis.edu/dl_detail.lasso?id=9693
Thank you so much for posting the moving essay by your friend.
I attended our local Day of Remembrance yesterday, 2/22/09. and was impressed by one of the guest speakers, a non-Japanese historian, who has been active in getting the word out how we should all work together and unify our aims to live side by side in harmony It was raining cats and dogs, but there were over a hundred of us.
Also obtained more information among attendees for my ongoing fictional work about the Japanese in America, which sparked a lot of interest, even help from one organization to help publish it.
Yes, Eiko, I can believe it. I’ve noted a distinct flavor to the air of SLC from the J/A community to get the word out that this happened at all. Pasu and I attended at least two more functions on Saturday related to the event, one of which I’ll no doubt write more about here later this week. I’m sure you’re very aware how close we could have come to another executive order like that of 9099 from Bush after 9/11. I know every middle-eastern man and even sometimes my husband must have been profiled by airlines many times over. You remember P used to travel quite a lot. I say we all raise our voices and let this countries atrocities be known. We’re not as lily-white as some of us would like to think!
The news about possibly leads to publication is great. Good luck with that and keep me informed!
Mage, I really appreciate your support. You are too kind for words. (Sorry I haven’t answered before now; been fighting a cold and infection for nearly a week!)