Congress commemorates Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   April 29, 2008
Contact:   Sean Smith, National Parks Conservation Association: (206) 818-4041


Congress commemorates Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island

New National Park unit will commemorate Japanese Americans forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps during World War II

Washington, D.C. - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) praised today's passage of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial, which was part of the Consolidated Natural Resources Act of 2008.The legislation now heads to the White House for the President's signature.

This legislation changes the boundary of the Minidoka Internment National Monument located in Idaho to include the Nidoto Nai Yoni ("Let it not happen again") memorial that commemorates the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island, Washington. These citizens were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and relocated to internment camps during World War II.

"Bainbridge Island, like all internment sites, serves as an important lesson in US History," said Sean Smith, NPCA Northwest regional director. "Commemoration of the Japanese-American confinement sites across the country will encourage us to reflect on the way American citizens were mistreated during a time of fear and war and serve as a reminder so the mistake is not repeated."

On March 30, 1942, 227 men, women and children from Bainbridge Island, Washington were assembled and escorted by U.S. Army soldiers to the Eagledale ferry landing. Only allowed to bring what they could carry or wear, they passed military cordons before boarding a ferry, leaving their island home in the heart of Puget Sound. They sailed to Seattle, where they were loaded onto trains for a three-day journey that would take them to the Manzanar concentration camp in California's Mojave Desert.

Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, who testified before Congress in support of the legislation, said, "Because of its significance as the point of debarkation for the first group of Japanese Americans to be forcibly removed and detained, the Bainbridge Island Memorial will become a focal point on the West Coast for memories, healing, and education."

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