Bush creates WWII monument for Pacific theater, includes Tule Lake internment camp

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WASHINGTON — President Bush on Friday established a World War II monument dedicated to those who fought in the Pacific.

The World War II Valor in Pacific National Monument will encompass nine sites, five in Hawaii, three in Alaska and one in California at the Tule Lake Segregation Center, where thousands of Japanese-Americans were detained after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

"The purpose of the monument is to remind generations of Americans of the sacrifices that Americans made to protect our country. But there's a broader purpose as well and that is to remind generations of Americans about the transformative effect of freedom," Bush said in brief remarks in the Oval Office.

[The White House press release said"the last of the nine designations will bring increased understanding of the high price paid by some Americans on the home front. The Tule Lake Segregation Center National Historic Landmark and nearby Camp Tule Lake in California were both used to house Japanese-Americans relocated from the west coast of the United States. They encompass the original segregation center's stockade, the War Relocation Authority Motor Pool, the Post Engineer's Yard and Motor Pool, a small part of the Military Police Compound, several historic structures used by internees and prisoners of war at Camp Tule Lake, and the sprawling landscape that forms the historic setting."]

[According to the White House press release, five of those sites are in the Pearl Harbor area, which is the home of both the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri -- milestones of the Pacific campaign that mark the beginning and the end of the war. The sites in this area include: the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center, the USS Utah Memorial, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, the six Chief Petty Officer Bungalows on Ford Island, and mooring quays F6, F7, and F8, which constituted part of Battleship Row. The USS Arizona and USS Utah vessels will not be designated as part of the national monument, but instead will be retained by the Department of Defense (through the Department of the Navy) as the final resting place for those entombed there.

[Three sites are located in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The first is the crash site of a Consolidated B-24D Liberator bomber -- an aircraft of a type that played a highly significant role in World War II -- located on Atka Island. The second is the site of Imperial Japan's occupation of Kiska Island, beginning in June 1942, which marks the northern limit of Imperial Japan's expansion in the Pacific. The Kiska site includes historic relics such as Imperial Japanese coastal and antiaircraft defenses, camps, roads, an airfield, a submarine base, a seaplane base, and other installations, as well as the remains of Allied defenses, including runway facilities and gun batteries.

[The third Aleutian designation is on Attu Island, the site of the only land battle fought in North America during World War II. It still retains the scars of the battle: thousands of shell and bomb craters in the tundra; Japanese trenches, foxholes, and gun encampments; American ammunition magazines and dumps; and spent cartridges, shrapnel, and shells located at the scenes of heavy fighting. Attu later served as a base for bombing missions against Japanese holdings.]

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