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Monday, February 20, 2017

Executive Order 9066 75th Anniversary

Above, a guard tower at Manzanar. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Yesterday marked the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

What was Executive Order 9066?

From the Orange County Register:
It began hours after news of Pearl Harbor reached the West Coast. 
A rap at the door, a shoe on the doorjamb, then FBI agents, welcome or otherwise, entered to take away roughly 1 in 10 heads of a few hundred specific households – all men, all Japanese. 
Warnings were not given and explanations were not offered. But when that first wave of arrests came, word spread quickly. Everybody knew. 
So two months later, on Feb. 19, 1942, the Japanese American community in Southern California – the nation’s largest at about 35,000 – was less shocked than it was horrified by what occurred: Executive Order 9066. 
Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 546-word document declared the government’s intent to treat the West Coast as a war zone, complete with powers that suspended some constitutional guarantees. 
Soon, Japanese Americans in the region were told to pack their things, sell or give away what they could, and prepare to be taken. 
Today, on its 75th anniversary, we know that 9066 led to the confinement of more than 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children. It’s widely viewed as a racially motivated, historical stain, a self-inflicted mistake.
Above and below, a camp housing replica. Photos by Armand Vaquer.

Executive Order 9066 incarcerated Japanese-American citizens in internment camps throughout the United States, including one at Manzanar in the Owens Valley of California. There are some today who are attempting to compare 9066 with President Trump's travel ban executive order. There is no comparison between the two. Trump's order is temporary. It will be in effect until effective vetting procedures can be implemented to keep terrorists from our country.

Above, the memorial to internees who died in camp. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I visited Manzanar last summer. There is not much left of any original structures there, but they do have reproductions. They also have an informative visitor center.

Above, a diorama of the Manzanar Relocation Camp in the Visitor Center. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read more, go here.

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