Day of Remembrance: Internment of Japanese Americans

Last Thursday marked the annual Day of Remembrance on Creighton’s campus. Each year, Creighton partners with the Omaha chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League to commemorate the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

Here PBS’ Children of the Camp provides some historical background: “Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which permitted the military to circumvent the constitutional safeguards of American citizens in the name of national defense. These Japanese Americans, half of whom were children, were incarcerated for up to 4 years, without due process of law or any factual basis, in bleak, remote camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. They were forced to evacuate their homes and leave their jobs; in some cases family members were separated and put into different camps. President Roosevelt himself called the 10 facilities ‘concentration camps.’ ”

You can see pictures of life inside of the camp here and read some non-fiction and historical fiction about Japanese internment by checking out these titles.

While internment camps were deemed “a national mistake” here Buzzfeed reports on how a current Virginia mayor is in favor of similar camps for Syrian refugees. Let’s remember, “if you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.”

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