Wikipedia: The Day of Remembrance (DOR) is a day of observance for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Events in numerous U.S. states, especially in the West Coast, are held on or near February 19, the day in 1942 that Executive Order 9066 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, requiring internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry.
An excerpt from a recent interview with Star Trek actor George Takei:
[I]n my early teens, my father, who I realize now, what an unusual, rare person he was, he started discussing the internment with me in our after-dinner conversations. My father was unusual in that respect, I discovered later on, because so many other Japanese American parents of my parents’ generation didn’t talk about their experience with their children. Because either they were so ashamed by it or so pained, so hurt by it, that they didn’t want to inflict that on their children. All the children knew was that they were in camp.
You know, my father said resilience is not all just teeth-gritting determination. It’s also the strength to find and see beauty in an ugly situation. To be able to find joy, make our joy, behind barbed wires and all these people wallowing in their misery. Some were angry. Some were completely devastated, and marriages were breaking up — and he said, we’ve got to develop a community. And he was a baseball player in San Francisco as a young man and played with a Japanese American team. And he said, we’ve got to build a baseball diamond. And that brought people together, working as a team. And teenagers had nothing to do and they needed to have fun. So after the mess hall dinner, he negotiated with the camp command to have the guards bring a record player over, and they had dances. I remember, our barrack was right across from the mess hall. And my mother put us to sleep. And I drifted off to sleep hearing the big band sound of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman wafting over the night air from the mess halls. And so, you know, resilience takes many, many different forms. . . .
And so when we developed a musical that played on Broadway, “Allegiance,” so many younger Japanese Americans came backstage to tell us how they were moved by the show and tell me that their parents or their grandparents were in camp. I’d ask them, “Oh, which camp were they in?” Their face was a complete blank. So, to help them out: “Was it in Wyoming? Colorado? Arkansas? Idaho?”
They knew nothing about it. So I do my advocacy not only for my country, but for my community. There are so many Japanese Americans, younger Japanese Americans — and, from my vantage point, anyone under 60 is considered younger — [who] don’t know their own family histories.
And America, to a large extent, doesn’t know its American history. People that I considered well-read, well-informed people, when I told them about my childhood, were aghast that something like that happened. And so that made me think, I’m going to have to do a bit more storytelling.”
His graphic novel, “They Called Us Enemy”:
> My Unexpected Visit to Manzanar, the U. S. Concentration Camp, With a Special Niche for Quakers
An excerpt from a statement by president Biden, February 18, 2022:
“I have always believed that great nations do not ignore their most painful moments — they confront them with honesty and, in doing so, learn from them and grow stronger as a result. The incarceration of Japanese Americans 80 years ago is a reminder to us today of the tragic consequences we invite when we allow racism, fear, and xenophobia to fester.
Today, we reaffirm the Federal Government’s formal apology to Japanese Americans whose lives were irreparably harmed during this dark period of our history, and we solemnly reflect on our collective moral responsibility to ensure that our Nation never again engages in such un-American acts. We acknowledge the intergenerational trauma and loss that the incarceration of Japanese Americans has caused. We also uplift the courage and resilience of brave Japanese Americans who, despite being unjustly incarcerated, formed powerful communities and marshalled incredible dignity and strength.”
> A 3-Day conference on memory and reckoning with the internment is at at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. More information here.
A Quaker Story of Remembrance –and Maybe Prophecy
Pirates Six, Cubs Three
Pittsburgh, PA, sometime in the 1980s.
Harry Nelson: I wasn’t having a good night. And I hadn’t had a good day. Needleman in the Washington office had called just after lunch. “Nelson,” he barked, “We need you here right away.”
I had to help the boss get ready for a big hearing at the Defense Systems Commission. Tomorrow.
I told him I’d promised to take the kids to a ballgame.
Needleman wasn’t impressed. “They play ballgames in Pittsburgh every night, Nelson,” he said. “We get a chance at a hundred million dollar contract once every ten years, if we’re lucky. This hearing could win it for us. The boss needs your data, and he needs you here to explain it to him. Tonight.”