To the editor:
On behalf of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC), we are humbled and grateful for the overwhelming, heartfelt support and participation on March 30 honoring the 75th anniversary commemoration of the first Japanese Americans to be forcibly removed and exiled during World War II.
This chapter in American history began here on Bainbridge Island, from a Presidential Executive Order’s unconstitutional action that set in motion the banishment of an entire group of people based solely on fear, racial prejudice, hysteria and a lack of political leadership.
As presidential executive orders are currently being issued targeting innocent people based on their religion, our island’s story of our newspaper and ordinary people courageously standing up to both the national tide and for their Japanese American friends and neighbors is both timeless and timely. It is a legacy of which we should be proud.
Our deepest thanks to the hundreds of people who stood for hours and braved chilly weather to witness a remarkable ceremony and who attended the afternoon of BIJAC films and presentations, and for all of those whose support made the day possible, including our partners, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, the Bainbridge Island Metropolitan Parks and Recreation District, the city of Bainbridge Island, Bainbridge Gardens, Master Gardeners, Bainbridge Island Barks and the scores of people who donated time, equipment and labor to make the day as perfect as it was.
Most of all, we honor and thank the dozens of survivors and their families who attended the ceremony and events, and we honor all of the 120,000 Japanese Americans who lived this story, one that we should never forget and to be inspired to have the patriotic courage to never repeat.
“Nidoto Nai Yoni – Let It Not Happen Again.”
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community