Statement by the President: Dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial (11/9/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                          Office of the President

For Immediate Release
November 9, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     Earlier today, America honored the patriotism of Japanese Americans
during World War II with the dedication of the National Japanese American
Memorial in the nation?s capital. Attorney General Janet Reno and Commerce
Secretary Norman Mineta joined distinguished members of the Japanese
American community and Americans of all ancestries in reminding us of a
time when this county lost sight of the very foundations of democracy it
was defending abroad.

     This nation must never forget the difficult lessons of the Japanese
American internment camps during World War II, and the inspirational
lessons of patriotism in the face of that injustice.

     Today, I have directed the Secretary of the Interior to develop
recommendations to preserve existing internment sites and provide for their
public interpretation. In addition, I am signing legislation designating
the United States Federal Courthouse for the Western District of Washington
in Seattle, Washington, as the William Kenzo Nakamura United States
Courthouse. William Nakamura 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 volunteered for the U.S. Army and died
fighting for this country in Italy on July 4, 1944.  In June of this year,
I posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor in recognition of his courage
and heroism.

     As the nation prepares to honor its veterans, it is my hope that the
unique contribution of Japanese Americans to preserving this Nation?s
freedom and democracy remains a vital part of America?s history.


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