|2/19/22 (from a 1945 photo)
Iconic pipe in his mouth, my dad is holding a wide-brimmed
hat of the type that I never saw him wear by the time I was born. My mom is
smiling, her arms wrapped around my second brother Frank, who seems distracted
by whatever he is eating. My oldest brother Richard, wearing what looks like a
captain’s hat, squats in front. It could be a photo from a family picnic –
except for the bleak desert landscape and the lone tower on the horizon. It
looks like the middle of nowhere.
Eighty years ago yesterday, President Roosevelt signed the Executive Order that would imprison 120,000 Japanese Americans at Minidoka and other relocation centers for the duration of World War II. Our mom was pregnant with Frank the day it was signed.
In my mother’s scrapbook, which was translated after her death, she wrote: “[Richard] doesn’t know yet that he will have a brother soon. He is still the center of his parents’ attention. We are not allowed to take pictures in camp. I wonder when I’ll be able to take photos of them together.”
Please think about that day in American history and how it affected so many people, including my parents and brothers.