By Norman Y. Mineta and Gordon Yamate
Ten years ago, the United States was shaken by the September 11th terrorist attacks upon New York City and Washington, D.C. In the immediate aftermath, the Japanese American National Museum contemplated its role in response to these unthinkable events. Clearly, more than our country’s national security was under attack. Our way of life as a democratic, open society was being challenged.
The Japanese American National Museum recognized the historic parallels between 2001 and 1941 when World War II erupted. In 1942, the United States Government implemented Executive Order 9066, violating the constitutional rights of Americans of Japanese ancestry by forcibly removing them from their homes and incarcerating more than 120,000 of them in detention camps without charge and without trial. That U.S. citizens and legal residents might be victimized because of their race or religion 60 years later was on the minds of all who were familiar with the Japanese American World War II experience.
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