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MARCH 2006
A Better World
The [internment] articles [“The Stolen Years,” Dec. 2004 and March 2005] are excellent and reveal many things that I was not aware of—especially the effort by the University to exempt Nisei students from the relocation and then to help them enroll at other universities. The “Letters to the Editor” (printed in the March issue) were understanding and favorable. It appears that students on campus at that time still have excellent memories and had close relationships with the Nisei.

Although the relocation years were “stolen” from us, I feel that all of us—friend or foe—faced the same predicament and I feel sad for those who did not survive. From my perspective, the relocation opened a new world to me, which I may not have experienced had it not occurred.

I returned from military service with a deep desire to complete my education and to assume my rightful place in society. I am proud of the way in which my fellow Nisei conducted themselves during these troubled times.

We live in a much better society today as a result of this experience.

Roy Inui, ’48
Sammamish

Editor’s Note: Inui was a UW student in 1942. With the help of UW officials and activist Floyd Schmoe, he avoided internment by transferring to Guilford College in North Carolina prior to the order to report to the camps. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

A Human Face on Tragedy
The March Columns arrived today. You have put such a human face on this. In describing the personal experiences of the students, some of their parents and certain of the staff, you’ve shown us so much more about these times and the nuances of the internments. This story you have put together needs a wider audience. People to whom I gave my copy of Columns and “The Stolen Years, Part One” were amazed to get the insights. They will feel even more informed by Part Two. … You have vastly exceeded my expectations with these two pieces. Congratulations.

Larry G. Nault, ’59
Basking Ridge, N.J.

We Did What We Had to Do to Win
As a conservative, I feel compelled to respond to the liberals wallowing in their anti-American mire. I know that liberals love to feel guilty about being wealthy Americans. I can accept that, even though I won’t feel guilty about it. I recognize that America is great and wealthy because of our liberty. It is no accident.

One of the key differences between liberals and conservatives is that liberals always put themselves ahead of their country and conservatives put their country ahead of themselves. Much of the information presented and implied was how much the Nisei students were required to personally sacrifice for their country. I find their sacrifices great and worth reporting and even honoring. While I appreciate their sacrifices, I don’t find the government guilty of any crimes against them. The government did what it had to do to win the war.

They weren’t the only ones who were required to sacrifice. First and foremost are the soldiers who risked and gave their lives (including soldiers of Japanese descent). Other regular citizens were required to ration gasoline, rubber, steel, etc. Speed limits were reduced to conserve gasoline. Contrary to information presented in Nancy Ann Holtz’s letter to the editor [“Letters,” March 2006], Americans of German and Italian descent were also sent to camps.

If I belonged to a group that had members who threatened the security of this country, I would willingly go to an “assembly center.” It seems like a logical sacrifice. It wouldn’t be enjoyable, but if it meant saving my country from destruction, I would rather spend some time in a camp than have my family beheaded for practicing a Christian religion. But then I’m conservative, and I put my country ahead of myself.

Japanese, Italians and Germans aren’t the only groups that have been singled out in relation to our nation’s security. Even currently, people with higher incomes are singled out to pay higher taxes. They haven’t committed any crimes any more than the Nisei students did.

The author, Columns Editor Tom Griffin, couldn’t get any of his interviewees to express any bitterness for staying in internment camps. It is possible that there is no bitterness. It is possible that they complied out of a sense of duty for their country. They thought of country before self. I am offended that Griffin implied bitterness where none was offered. I’m offended that Griffin is using the sacrifice of great Americans to further his liberal anti-American agenda.

Susan Smith Stephens wrote in her letter to the editor [“Letters,” March 2006]: “Perhaps if either President Bush or Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld had been at the UW at that time, tens of thousands of young Iraqi citizens might still be alive.” Our troops are not in Iraq to kill but to protect Iraqi citizens. Perhaps if Saddam Hussein were still in power, he would have killed another 100,000 Iraqi citizens. Perhaps if the Islamic terrorists weren’t so busy in Iraq, they would be spreading mayhem and destruction in our country.

I appreciate the courage displayed by Gordon Hirabayashi to take on the U.S. government at the time of war to defend his own civil rights, to whose story half of the “The Stolen Years, Part Two” was dedicated. I honor even more the short paragraph dedicated to George Mukasa, who volunteered to join the U.S. Army, accompanying General Douglas MacArthur all the way to Japan. Now that’s real courage.

Chris Jolley, ’92
American Fork, Utah

Editor’s Note: Chris Jolley is in error when he states “Americans of German and Italian descent were also sent to camps.” German and Italian citizens were interned, not U.S. citizens of those nationalities except in a few rare incidents. In contrast, more than 70,000 U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were sent to the camps in 1942.