This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.
A sorrowful chapter in American and Valley history will be commemorated Feb. 14-16 when a memorial is dedicated at the Pinedale site where thousands of Japanese and Japanese-Americans were gathered before being shipped out to World War II internment camps.
Pinedale was the smaller of two such sites in Fresno; the other was the county fairground, where internees from the Valley were held. The Pinedale site was earlier occupied by the Sugar Pine Lumber Co., and was used to hold internees who mostly came from north of the Valley.
For several years a coalition of groups, including the city, the Central California Nikkei Foundation and Central California District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League, and the developer of the site, Granum Partners, has worked to establish the simple, yet evocative, memorial to the events of 1942.
Those were sad events indeed. Wartime anxieties in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, fueled by long-standing prejudice against Japanese immigrants and their American-born children, led to the infamous Executive Order No. 9066 by President Roosevelt.
It required the Japanese and Japanese-Americans – the Nisei – to be uprooted from their homes, farms and businesses, on short notice and with few possessions, for transport to internment camps in remote areas of California and other states.
In all, some 120,000 people had their freedom snatched from them, though they had committed no crimes.
To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.