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[COMMUNITY] WWII Internees of Minidoka Camp Returns

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  • madchinaman
    WWII Internees Visit Camp Monument in Idaho From the Associated Press http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na- camp9jul09,1,2641323.story HUNT,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2006
      WWII Internees Visit Camp Monument in Idaho
      From the Associated Press
      http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-
      camp9jul09,1,2641323.story


      HUNT, Idaho — Tomi Okano was 6 years old in 1942 when she and her
      family were forced by the federal government to leave their Oregon
      home to live in a World War II detention camp for Japanese
      Americans.

      More than 60 years later, she has one vivid memory of this place in
      the southern Idaho desert.

      "I remember the fence," Okano said Saturday as she walked past the
      remnants of an entry checkpoint to the former 33,000-acre Minidoka
      Relocation Center compound. "I remember thinking, 'If I could just
      go over that fence and over those mountains, there would be the
      ocean and I would be home.' "

      Okano, of Seattle, was one of about 100 former internees and their
      families who made a pilgrimage from Seattle and Portland, Ore., to
      the Idaho camp now designated the Minidoka Internment National
      Monument.

      The National Park Service hosted the visit to discuss its plans to
      develop a 73-acre parcel set aside in 2001 by President Clinton to
      be an educational exhibit focusing on civil rights and the wartime
      experience of Japanese Americans.

      Minidoka was one of 10 detention camps operated between 1942 and
      1946 in the Western U.S. and Arkansas. The camps held thousands of
      West Coast residents who had at least one-sixteenth Japanese
      ancestry.

      The forced removal of Japanese Americans was ordered by President
      Franklin Roosevelt two months after Japan's Dec. 7, 1941, surprise
      attack on Pearl Harbor.

      Today, only a handful of original Minidoka structures remain.
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