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WWII Internment Camps

During World War II, over 110,000 ethnic Japanese individuals that were residing in America were moved to internment camps. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which allowed military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones.” This resulted in the removal of all people of Japanese ancestry from the Pacific coast.

This artifact was signed by Lieutenant General John L. DeWitt and excluded anyone of Japanese ancestry from the San Francisco area. General DeWitt testified before Congress that he could not trust the loyalty of the Japanese. He said, “There is no way to determine their loyalty… It makes no difference whether they are American citizens, they are still Japanese.”

Hopefully, America has learned that we are better than a rash decision like this. In 1997, a man named Gordon Bitner Hinckley stated,  “… We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies, which we may espouse. Concerning these you and I may disagree. But we can do so with respect and civility.”

We need to remember what American religious leader James E. Faust said in 2004, “Some choices have greater consequences than others.” We do not have to be afraid of a whole community because of what a few have done. We should judge each person individually. Our various beliefs and gifts are what make life so rich and fulfilling. That should give us hope for the future.

Order signed by Lieutenant General US Army Commanding J. L. DeWitt on May 5, 1942.

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