The following is a fictional piece inspired by real events.
On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the US naval base in Pearl Harbor. This led the US to official enter World War 2. And this day greatly impacted my culture as I know it, both the Japanese part of me and the the American in me.
After The Attack
“Go back to your own country dirty jap!” The girls in chemistry shouted as Robert, Ellen and I took our seats. We lived in Fontana, California at the time. Robert and Ellen were family friends.
My parents had owned a farm and Robert and Ellen’s parents owned a market that sold some of the crop from our farm. They kept their heads down and worked hard so that we were never left wanting for anything. Life wasn’t easy, but at least we had our community.
We were used to discrimination; it’s something we faced our entire lives, but December 7, 1941 changed everything for the worse. Anti-Japanese sentiments grew even more so and the discrimination became hostility and violence.
On December 8th, Robert was beaten up by the guys on the football team. Ellen and I took him home early. We tried to live life normally, but things weren’t the same. The US had declared war on Japan and we were seen as enemies of the state.
It’s February 19, 1942 and Japanese Americans everywhere are panicking. Franklin D. Roosevelt just signed Executive Order 9066.
Mom and dad asked me to read and explain the Executive Order. I explained that all people of Japanese descent were being relocated and we could only take what we could carry.
In April 1942, we left everything behind and were incarcerated at an interment camp. Our families stripped of everything. Our land basically stolen from us.
To be continued…
Lest we forget…
Image from Unsplash