I was born in California in a town called Watsonville, which is 60 miles south of San Francisco. I am an American of Japanese ancestry.

The Japanese attacked the U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941. In my opinion Japan had awakened a sleeping giant.

Despite the fact that I was an American, I was interned in this country. I had nothing to do with the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor. I was not accused or tried, but I was incarcerated because of my ancestry.

There were ten internment camps in remote areas of this country. Our family was in a camp in Arizona called Poston.

Three men contested the internment, and their case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. After the war ended, one of the justices stated that the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war was the biggest mistake in World War II.

Ironically, many Japanese-Americans volunteered to serve this country in the Army. The unit that they were in was the 442nd Regiment combat team. This unit became one of the most highly decorated military units during the war.

After the war ended, we were allowed to return to California. After I graduated from high school, I joined the U.S. Marine Corps. I had become one of the “few and proud.” I served this country as a Marine for 20 years despite what this country had done to me during World War II.

I am proud to be an AMERICAN.Image

Comments

David Dodd May 25, 2010 @ 12:27 p.m.

You're still a prisoner of war. The only thing that has changed is the politics. Been to Watsonville, seen your prison, and I'm sorry - as an American born non-Japanese person - that you had to go through that horsecrap. I'd go back and change all of it if I had the chance. And thank you for your service, in spite of the fact that your country sometimes sucks goat balls. You have my complete respect.

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kstaff May 25, 2010 @ 1:58 p.m.

I lived in Japan for a number of years, and perhaps know the society better than you do. Have also visited Manzanar, and would like to stop at Poston some day.

The Japanese government and society at the time presumed that Japanese-Americans were on their side, and unfortunately made public pronouncements to that effect. Was the U.S. Government simply supposed to be dismissive of that?

Thank you for your service; I'm a veteran too though not a 20 year type. The 442nd Regiment was sent to the European theater. No Japanese-American units were sent to the Pacific, I believe. There's a difference between the experiences of individuals, like yourself, and the considerations that go into formulating a national policy. It's an endless dilemma. But I don't think the U.S. Government had spiteful or evil intentions in moving the Japanese-American population away from the coastal area.

Just my opinion.

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David Dodd May 25, 2010 @ 2:45 p.m.

"Was the U.S. Government simply supposed to be dismissive of that?"

Interesting point. The problem is in that by not doing so, freedom of Americans citizens were compromised. Had I been born Japanese, it would have pissed me off to no end. Regardless.

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wlpete July 14, 2010 @ 8:46 p.m.

Thank you, Tad, for sharing your story. After reading the first three comments, I'd like to say that I believe the point of this story is to show that a person who has more right than most to be angry with this government, simply isn't. His love for this COUNTRY supersedes any animosity he may have felt toward the GOVERNMENT as a result of his internment. The anger I sensed from the preceeding comments is not all present in the story that stirred up those feelings.

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