This past Sunday, I attended “A Day of Remembrance” hosted by the local Crocker Art Museum. This spectacular interactive exhibit highlighted the history of the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 internment of Japanese Americans. Exactly 75 years ago this past Sunday, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed this Executive order that started incarceration of over 120,000 Japanese who were considered a threat to national defense from the west coast of the United States. They were forced to leave and abandoned their families, homes, businesses, and communities.
The Japanese were forced to leave to internment camps around the West in places like Utah and spread throughout California. The Crocker Center event included the sharing of stories by those who were imprisoned in the camps as children, remarks by community leaders, gallery tours, performances, and a film screening. This day of remembrance allowed attendees to capture the harsh conditions in the camps, living and work conditions.
The Croker Art Museum had a day of workshops and art exhibits planned that allowed every attendee to learn and gain appreciation for the culture of the history of this time. When I entered the building the first workshop I noticed was a group of people taking turns saying the names of all the people who were forced into these camps. As you continued to make your way around the museum there were stations for children to learn how to make traditional origami and have story time. The exhibit that took the majority of people’s breath away who attended was the “Two Views” photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank. When looking at the exhibit people were captivated by the true realness you can see coming from the photos. The photos showed the struggle of World War ll, forced relocation, and the quality of the work that was captured in each photo.
“After I observed this exhibit I found myself overwhelmed with emotion,” said Ann Peterson, an exhibit attendee.
The high-point of attending the exhibit was the personal narratives from Sacramento incarcerees. Harry Noguchi, 82, of Sacramento, who was interned at Tule Lake at the age of seven, shared his story of his family being forced to move where he was forced to live in an internment camp. Another incarcerated Mas Hatano, 88, of Loomis, who was interned at Tule Lake stated that “It happened, but it shouldn’t have happened”.
While memories of this day open a flood of emotions it’s still important that it is recognized. This Day of Remembrance helped educate and share the true stories of the Japanese decedents of people right in our community. The Crocker Art Museum did a phenomenal job putting this day together bringing the people of Sacramento together to remember the history and to pay respect of the individuals who shared their stories.