U.S. Rep. Kilmer to meet with local Japanese American survivors of internment camps at Bainbridge Island Memorial next week

Congressman Derek Kilmer will meet local Japanese American survivors of World War II internment camps at the Bainbridge Island memorial.

Kilmer, a Democrat from Gig Harbor and a 6th District lawmaker, will also be joined at the memorial on Monday, Aug. 4, by Johnpaul Jones, the architect who designed the memorial and recently received a National Humanities Medal from President Obama.

During the visit, Japanese Americans who lived through the relocation will talk about their experience and show Kilmer where their names are on the memorial.

Members of the Bainbridge Island City Council, the Bainbridge Island Historical Society, and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association will join the tour as well.

Kilmer will also discuss his legislation to officially recognize a new name for the Bainbridge Island memorial honoring Japanese Americans forced from their homes during World War II.

The bill, which recently passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee, will make sure the site is properly recognized as the "Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial."

Bainbridge Island organizations – including the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association – and residents pushed for the renaming of the National Historic Site, previously referenced in federal law as the "Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial," to better reflect the history it commemorates.

Kilmer worked closely with local officials and the National Park Service to clarify how to appropriately change the name and to guarantee that the new name would be fully recognized in federal law.             The memorial is located at the former Eagledale ferry dock. It is the only national memorial to the internment of Japanese Americans not located at an incarceration site.


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