Matthew Lickona 4 p.m., May 26
- Community Blog
- I Was a Prisoner of War in America
I Was a Prisoner of War in America
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.
More like this:
- Letters from the End of the World, Part Two — Sept. 5, 2012
- Letters from the End of the World, Part One — Aug. 29, 2012
- Relocation of San Diego's Nikki — July 1, 1999
- During World War II, were Germans rounded up by Ecuadorian governments and sent to concentration camps in Texas? — Nov. 29, 1998
- War Stories — Oct. 20, 1977