Thursday, February 08, 2007

A timely memorial

-- by Dave

Some good news from David Postman at the Seattle Times:
A Bainbridge Island memorial to the Japanese Internment of World War II would be granted National Park status under a bill passed unanimously by the U.S. House today. This has been a major effort by Congressman Jay Inslee for at least three years. This morning he said on the House floor that passing the bill would be a "strong American statement":

"That statement is that the power of fear will never again be allowed to overcome the promise of liberty."

Standing before photos of internees, Inslee said, "These are images we should never see again in America."

The site of the former Eagledale Ferry Dock is known as the Nidoto Nai Yoni Memorial, the Japanese phrase meaning, "Let it not happen again." Officially the site will be part of the Minidoka Internment National Monument in Jerome County, Idaho. Inslee's co-sponsor was Idaho Republican Mike Simpson.

The dock is where the first 227 Japanese-Americans were rounded up by U.S. soldiers and taken to an internment camp. During 3 1/2 years of World War II nearly 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent were imprisoned.

Especially noteworthy were Inslee's remarks on the House floor:
"This will be a statement to ourselves, to our children, to our grandchildren, that when we are in fear in this country we should never lose that anchor of American civil rights and civil liberties and respect for what we are as Americans...

"We have gone though these days in the last several years. We've experienced fear that sometimes has infected the discussion here in the chambers. And when we go through and deal with our fears today, I think its well that we take a lesson from history in 1942 to hew to the power of liberty rather than the power of fear."

Thank you, Congressman. Well done and well said.

A side note: Some of the opponents of the Bainbridge memorial, notably Mary Dombrowski (who also fought to alter the Bainbridge school curriculum regarding the internment), are fond of waving Michelle Malkin's execrable In Defense of Internment as "evidence" to support their positions. Indeed, Malkin herself has touted Dombrowski's advocacy. So consider this a defeat for the forces of Malkinism.

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