Japanese American memorial starts Junior Ranger program

The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is starting a new Junior Ranger program.

The program is designed to engage and inspire learners of all ages.

The program consists of a downloadable activity booklet featuring original graphics and design to “establish a legacy of remembrance as part of a continuing process of recovery from the World War II exclusion and detention of individuals of Japanese ancestry.”

The memorial commemorates the Japanese Americans of Bainbridge Island who were the first to be forcibly removed from their homes and incarcerated during World War II. It was later determined that the action had no military or Constitutional basis and was the result of “war hysteria, racial prejudice, and lack of political leadership.”

The memorial serves to help us learn from this past injustice while inspiring us to act and prevent future injustice, a news release says. The memorial’s theme is Nidoto Nai Yoni — “let it not happen again.”

The free booklet is available online and at the memorial when the ranger is present. A free Junior Ranger badge is available after activities are completed and reviewed with a park ranger in-person, through the mail or via email.

Park rangers staff the memorial on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. “Bearing the Unbearable,” a National Park Service-produced film that tells the story of the forced removal of Japanese Americans and their subsequent incarceration at Manzanar and Minidoka concentration camps, is available to stream for free online to watch before or after your visit to the memorial.

The memorial is located adjacent to Pritchard Park, about four miles from the Washington State Ferries Bainbridge Island terminal. 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive NE is the best address to use for GPS mapping assistance.

The memorial became part of the National Park System in 2008 and is collaboratively managed by the Park Service with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association, Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District and Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.