Shirley Ann Higuchi: Sen. Lee is Obstructing Establishment of National Historic Site for former Internment CenterBreaking News
tags: National Parks, Japanese internment, Japanese Americans, Mike Lee, Asian American History
Shirley Ann Higuchi is a Washington, D.C., attorney, and past president of the District of Columbia Bar. She chairs the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (www.heartmountain.org), which runs an interpretive center at the site of the camp where her parents were imprisoned. She is the author of “Setsuko’s Secret: Heart Mountain and the Legacy of the Japanese American Incarceration,” released last fall by the University of Wisconsin Press. Find out more at: Setsukossecret.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HiguchiJD.
On Sept. 19, 1942, the 11 members of the Muranaga family from Gardena, Calif., arrived in their new home – the concentration camp for Japanese Americans at Amache, just outside Granada, Colo.
They were among the 120,000 Japanese Americans forced from their homes on the West Coast, because of an unfounded fear they were saboteurs or spies for the government of imperial Japan.
In 1943, their oldest son, Kiyoshi, would join the U.S. Army to serve in the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. On June 26, 1944, Kiyoshi Muranaga would die saving his comrades from an attack from a fearsome German 88mm cannon in the fields near Suvereto, Italy.
Muranaga received the Medal of Honor for that sacrifice.
His is just one of the stories from the Amache camp, where 8,000 Japanese American spent all, or part of World War II exiled from their homes.
Now, one senator, Republican Mike Lee of Utah, is delaying a bill that would help bring those stories to a wider audience by making Amache a National Historic Site under the administration of the National Park Service.
Lee is blocking the Senate’s unanimous consent of the Amache bill, which passed the House 416-2 last July. Authored two Colorado House members, Republican Rep. Ken Buck, and Democrat Joe Neguse, it is the kind of bipartisan collaboration most of us say we want to see in a too-often-polarized Congress.
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