Do The Right Thing

Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, a Japanese American, grew up in Gallop, New Mexico. He was a young man when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and President Roosevelt signed the order to move all West Coast Japanese Americans to internment camps.

“In February 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, the first of the orders that would ultimately incarcerate 120,000 West Coast Japanese, more than 60% of them citizens of the United States.”-Joe Mozingo LA Times

Partial Summary from LA Times article: This was not mandated in New Mexico because it was considered outside of the coastal military zone. Some cities in New Mexico still decided to participate in the removal of Japanese Americans. Gallop’s sheriff, Dominic Mollica, did not think it was the right thing to do. Hiroshi Miyamura went on to be a hero in the Korean War, saving his squad and another squad leader. He was captured by the Chinese and carried his wounded friend Joe Annello in a forced march. Hiroshi Miyamura won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was greeted as a hero on his return to Gallop and was recognized with a statue, a new high school and Freeway interchange named in his honor.

Hiroshi_Miyamura_and_Eisenhower

Hiroshi Miyamura receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower

Jim Kanno was one of American’s first Japanese American mayors. He spent his last years of high school in an internment camp. This LA Times article tells his story and mentions there were people in Orange County, California who helped his family save their farm while they were interned.

“The family’s neighbors in Orange County had continued to manage their farm and “turned over the next crop to them so they could sustain living expenses,” Kanno’s wife, Frances, recalled.

Were there others who did the right thing when Japanese Americans were removed from their homes? One who did was Bob Fletcher, a California State Agricultural Inspector, who gave up his job to take care of the farms of 3 Japanese American families while they were in an internment camp. Many other Japanese Americans lost their homes and businesses during the internment.

“Few people in history exemplify the best ideals the way that Bob did,” said Tsukamoto’s daughter, Marielle, who was 5 when her family was interned. “He was honest and hard working and had integrity. Whenever you asked him about it, he just said, ‘It was the right thing to do.’ ” (The Sacramento Bee/Washington Post)

Bob Fletcher died at the age of 101 in 2013. Here is his story.

There are several books about the Japanese American interment during WWII. Here’s a few:

Houston, Jeanne Wakatsuki Farewell to Manzanar : a true story of Japanese American experience during and after the World War II internment / Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston.

Julie Otsuka The Buddha in the Attic

Yoshiko Uchida  The Invisible Thread


This post is for We Are The World Blogfest. Co-hosts this month:  Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Sylvia Stein, Damyanti Biswas.  If you would like to learn more about this blogfest and participate click on the link above. Featured image is of vintage Japanese watercolor art via Pawny on Pixabay.com

We Are the World Blogfest

 

 

 

 

21 thoughts on “Do The Right Thing

  1. JoAnna

    This issue is something many of us don’t want to think or talk about, but we need to remember the the heroes, the ones who did the right thing. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Susan Scott

    Thanks Deborah – truly an inspiring story. I recently read a book by Isabel Allende, The Japanes Lover which also highlights this time period. No I did not know much about these internments and it was a slice of life that needs to be heard..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      I did not know a lot until I started to read about it. The true stories and historical fiction I read helped me understand and relate to how it was. I did not know about people who stepped up and helped until recent years. Thank you, Susan.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Deborah Drucker Post author

      The books and the news articles I listed had a real impact on me. This is part of California history as well. In The Invisible Thread the family has a home in Berkeley that they are forced to leave and when they finally return they find there had been squatters in their house. It was inspiring to me to read about the quiet heroes, like Bob Fletcher, who helped them.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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