Photo courtesy of the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center
A couple of weeks ago Becky and I visited Portland, Oregon, to see friends. While there, we had the opportunity to visit the Japanese American Historical Plaza, which is part of the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The memorial was designed by landscape architect Robert Murase and dedicated in 1990.
The purpose of the memorial was to highlight and remember the injustices faced by Japanese Americans in Oregon, following the infamous Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt, on February 19, 1942. This order led to the forcible removal from their homes of some 120,000 West Coast Japanese Americans, nearly 2/3 of whom were American citizens.
The various stones that you see in the photo have inscriptions, including a listing of the ten internment camps where the internees were taken, and relevant poems written by Japanese American authors. The final stone has a bronze plaque with several selections from the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, a law that granted reparations to the internees. This law stated that our government’s actions were based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.”
To read a 14-part series that I wrote about the internment, Start Here. Also, in an effort to shine a light on the injustice of the Japanese American internment of World War II, I wrote an historical novel entitled How Much Do You Love Me? Aside from my desire to create a page-turning mystery, my objective was to summarize the complete experience of the internees, throughout their wartime experience.
This post was written by paulmarktag