(on the memorial, the carvings are in capital letters)
THE JAPANESE AMERICAN MEMORIAL TO PATRIOTISM DURING WORLD WAR II
May this memorial be a tribute to the indomitable spirit of a citizenry in World War II who remained steadfast in their faith in our democratic system.
Norman Mineta, U.S. Congressman, Internee Heart Mountain
I am proud that I am an American of Japanese ancestry. I believe in this nations institutions, ideals and traditions; I glory in her heritage; I boast of her history; I trust in her future.
Mike M. Masaoka, Civil Rights Advocate, Staff Sergeant, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Our actions in passing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 are essential for giving credibility to our constitutional system and reinforcing our tradition of justice.
Robert T. Matsui, U.S. Congressman, Internee, Tule Lake
Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.
President Ronald W. Reagan upon signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988.
On February 19, 1942, 73 days afer the United States entered World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which resulted in the removal of 120,000 Japanese American men, women and children from their homes in the western states and Hawaii.
Allowed only what they could carry, families were forced to abandon homes, friends, farms and businesses to live in ten remote relocation centers guarded by armed troops and surrounded by barbed wire fences. Some remained in the relocation centers until March 1946.
In addition, 4,500 were arrested by the Justice Department and held in internment camps, such as Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2,500 were also held at the family camp in Crystal City, Texas.
Answering the call to duty, young Japanese Americans entered into military service, joining many pre-war draftees. The 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, fighting in Europe, became the most highly decorated Army unit for its size and length of service in American military history. Japanese Americans in the military intelligence service used their bilingual skills to help shorten the war in the Pacific and thus saved countless American lives. The 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion helped fortify the infrastructure essential for victory.
In 1983, almost forty years after the war ended, the Federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that there had been no military necessity for the mass imprisonment of Japanese Americans and that a grave injustice had been done.
In 1988 President Ronald W. Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which made an apology for the injustice, provided minimal compensation and reaffirmed the nation's commitment to equal justice under the law for all Americans.
Colorado River, Arizona
Japanese by blood
Hearts and minds Americans
With honor unbowed
Bore the sting of injustice
For future generations
-- The Legacy, Akemi Matsumoto Ehrlich
We believed a threat to this nation's democracy was a threat to the American dream and to all free peoples of the world.
-- Spark m. Matsunaga, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, Captain 100th Infantry Battalion
(names of those who died in service)
Here we honor those who died in service during World War II
You fought not only the enemy but you fought prejudice -- and you won. Keep up that fight and we will continue to win to make this great republic stand for what the Constitution says it stands for: the welfare of all of the people all of the time.
-- President Harry S. Truman, 1946 White House ceremony for the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
The lessons learned must remain as a grave reminder of what we must not allow to happen again to any group.
Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, Captain, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
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