The following are Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey’s closing remarks at the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, held on April 25, 2015, at the Manzanar National Historic Site.
Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey, shown here delivering the closing remarks at the conclusion of
the 46th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 25, 2015,
Manzanar National Historic Site.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
Today, we stand here, at this National Historic Site, on the very land that was once an American concentration camp. We stand here today having had Presidents apologize for this grave injustice. We’ve had Presidents name Fred Korematsu
and Gordon Hirabayashi
Ours is a powerful story, one we should be proud of telling. It is a story of a resilient people, who, facing one of the greatest failures of American democracy, chose to not only survive, but also to demand justice.
Ours is a powerful story, one of loss of freedom, of racism, and of being marched off to live behind barbed wire, and when forced to leave and resettle with little or no real support, the Japanese American community had mixed emotions. No doubt people were angry. How could you not be angry? Losing homes, businesses, schooling—being accused with absolutely no proof of being the enemy, of plotting to harm your own country, denied your birthright of citizenship, all because of your ancestry. Who wouldn’t be?
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