Today, as hundreds of Americans gather in the nation's capital to dedicate the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, President Clinton directed the Secretary of Interior to take action to preserve Japanese American internment camps and interpret the important lessons they offer this nation -- thereby honoring the historic patriotism of Japanese Americans. The President also signed legislation renaming a federal courthouse in Seattle, Washington after William Kenzo Nakamura -- a Japanese American interned during World War II who later enlisted in the U.S. military and died while serving his country.
Working to Preserve Japanese American History. Today, the President reaffirmed the nation's commitment to honor the historic patriotism of Japanese Americans and acknowledge the wrongs of the past by directing the Secretary of the Interior to develop recommendations in 60 days to preserve existing internment sites and provide for their public interpretation – thereby ensuring that the difficult lessons learned from this chapter of American history are never forgotten.
In addition, Congress has approved $5.1 million in the FY 2001 budget to establish a visitor center at the Manzanar National Historic Site, at a former Japanese American internment camp in California. This funding builds on the work of the Administration and numerous local and national groups, including the White House Millennium Council's Save America's Treasures, the National Park Foundation, The Manzanar Fund, the Manzanar Advisory Commission, and the Japanese American Citizens League. The new center will allow visitors to learn from archival research and interviews with former internees, architectural and archeological features of the camp, and remaining artifacts.
On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, leading to the relocation and internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans. To carry out the order, the United States government established internment camps in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and other states. Almost 50 years later, Congress passed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, acknowledging that "a grave injustice was done to both citizens and permanent residents of Japanese ancestry by the evacuation, relocation, and internment of civilians during World War II." As a result, all Japanese Americans who were subject to internment received a letter from the U.S. Government that "acknowledged the wrongs of the past and offered redress to those who endured such grave injustice."
Honoring an American Hero. Today, the President also signed legislation designating the United States Federal Courthouse for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, Washington, as the William Kenzo Nakamura United States Courthouse. Born in 1922, William Nakamura grew up in Seattle and was a student at the University of Washington when he and 120,000 other Japanese Americans were removed from their communities and forced into internment camps.
Despite the injustice of his internment, William Kenzo Nakamura enlisted in the 442d Regimental Combat Team and later died fighting for this country in Italy on July 4, 1944, while providing cover for his retreating platoon. On June 21, 2000, President Clinton posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to Mr. Nakamura, along with 21 other Asian Americans.
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Presidential Webcast: Meeting the Challenge of Global Warming
President Clinton Joins International Religious and Domestic Aids Policy Leaders to Mark World Aids Day
Urging Congress to Keep its Commitment and Complete this Year's Education Budget
To Implement Title V of the Trade and Development Act of 2000 and to Modify the Generalized System of Preferences
Preserving America's Coral Reefs
Human Rights Day: The Eleanor Roosevelt Award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom
President Clinton Launches New Effort to Increase Immunization Rates Among Children
President Clinton and Vice President Gore: Restoring an American Natural Treasure
Progress in Efforts to Combat International Crime
President Clinton's New Markets Initiative: Revitalizing America's Underserved Communities
President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and Congressional Democrats Win a Landmark Budget
Announcing Welfare Reform Achievements and Budget Wins for America's Families
President Clinton Issues Strong New Consumer Protections to Ensure the Privacy of Medical Records
Enacting a Budget that Invests in Education, Health Care, and America'
President Clinton Appoints Roger Gregory to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
President Clinton Announces New Steps to Improve Nutrition and Education for Children in Developing Countries
The United States on Track to Pay Off the Debt by End of the Decade
President Clinton: Strengthening the Federal Government-University Research Partnership
Keeping the Heat and Lights On During Unusually Cold Weather
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