HR 4610
ByRepresentatives Chopp, Wilcox, Appleton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Boehnke, Caldier, Callan, Chambers, Chandler, Chapman, Cody, Corry, Davis, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Dufault, Dye, Entenman, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Gildon, Goehner, Goodman, Graham, Gregerson, Griffey, Hansen, Harris, Hoff, Hudgins, Irwin, Jenkin, Jinkins, Kilduff, Kirby, Klippert, Kloba, Kraft, Kretz, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Lovick, MacEwen, Macri, Maycumber, McCaslin, Mead, Morgan, Morris, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Pellicciotti, Peterson, Pettigrew, Pollet, Ramos, Reeves, Riccelli, Robinson, Rude, Ryu, Santos, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shea, Shewmake, Slatter, Smith, Springer, Stanford, Steele, Stokesbary, Stonier, Sullivan, Sutherland, Tarleton, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Werven, Vick, Volz, Walen, Walsh, Wylie, Ybarra, and Young
WHEREAS, On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, which authorized the United States military to forcibly remove and incarcerate more than 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, including 12,000 Japanese American residents of Washington State; and
WHEREAS, The first civilian evacuation order gave Japanese Americans from Bainbridge Island less than one week to leave behind homes, personal belongings, farms, businesses, friends, and family and report to hastily constructed detention centers like Camp Harmony on the grounds of the Washington State fair in Puyallup; and
WHEREAS, This drastic course of action allegedly aimed to prevent acts of espionage and sabotage by Japanese Americans who were deemed untrustworthy and disloyal to the United States; and
WHEREAS, On March 23, 1943, the War Department organized a segregated unit of Japanese Americans, many of whom reported for military duty from the concentration camps surrounded by barbed wire in which they and their families were detained; and
WHEREAS, More than 12,000 volunteers responded to questions about their loyalty and patriotism by amassing a battle record unparalleled in United States military history with 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1 Distinguished Service Medal, 588 Silver Stars, more than 4,000 Bronze Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 145 Soldier's Medals, 9,486 Purple Hearts, 16 decorations from France and Italy, and, in 2010, the Congressional Gold Medal; and
WHEREAS, Equally loyal and patriotic Japanese Americans fought to protect our constitutional rights and liberties through dissent, like University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi who was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for defying the military curfew on select civilians and refusing to evacuate when ordered; and
WHEREAS, In 1982, the Congressional commission on wartime relocation and internment of civilians found "no military or security reason for the internment" of persons of Japanese ancestry, but determined the cause of the incarceration as "racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership"; and
WHEREAS, Through this travesty of justice, Japanese Americans suffered immense economic loss of property and assets, immeasurable physical and psychological harm, and were deprived of their constitutional liberties without due process of law; and
WHEREAS, In 1979, Washington State Congressman Mike Lowry introduced H.R. 5977 to provide reparations and an apology to the Japanese American incarcerees, thus initiating a ten-year legislative quest that ended when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988; and
WHEREAS, Throughout Washington State, the last remaining survivors of the European and Asian Pacific battlefields of World War II and of American incarceration camps live their golden years in quiet contrast to their extraordinary acts of conscience and valor while all of America continues to benefit from their heroic patriotism;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Washington State House of Representatives pause to acknowledge the seventy-seventh anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066; to recognize and remember Japanese American veterans, incarcerees, and civil rights activists from the State of Washington, and to honor the lessons and blessings of liberty and justice for all; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives to the Nisei Veterans Committee, Densho, the Japanese American Citizens League, the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Washington State, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
I hereby certify this to be a true and correct copy of
Resolution 4610 adopted by the House of Representatives
February 20, 2019
Bernard Dean, Chief Clerk