Santa Cruz County History - Executive Order 9066 and the Residents of Santa Cruz County


Full Text Newspaper ArticleWatsonville Register-Pajaronian. Sept. 26, 1945. p. 3

NISEI PLEA FOR UNDERSTANDING
[Editorial]

by Aiko Masada

To the editor:

Quoting from G. W. Cornell's letter of Sept. 20 to the editor, "everything possible should be done to encourage all Japanese to return to their native land and..." Perhaps we could have just as easily relocated elsewhere but, my dear Mr. Cornell, because CALIFORNIA was our native land, we have returned.

In the spring of 1942, though charged with no crime, we were forcefully torn from our beloved home and lifelong, dear friends. With a lump in my throat, goodbyes were bade to fellow freshman classmates, wondering if we'd ever meet again. How clearly that day comes back to me now, the whole world seemed to crumble about us. Some of the evacuees were put behind barbed-wires in dusty Arizona, others in isolated camps in various parts of this country...our family was fortunate enough to be sent halfway across the continent to a camp in muddy Arkansas.

However, the greatest victim of this unrighteous uprooting of 70,000 American citizens certainly was not the Japanese-Americans themselves...rather, it was our basic concept of liberty, our standard of justice, and the appeal which we, as free people, should be making to the many oppressed people in the far corners of the world.

We love and intend to serve this great country with its high ideals. Hasn't America climbed to its present height of greatness because of the contributions of all racial groups? Is not our great American hero, Gen. Eisenhower, of German ancestry? It was certainly not for their own health that those Japanese-American boys fought so valiantly, giving of their blood, sweat, and tears, in some of the bitterest battles on the war fronts...no, they wanted to prove to doubting fellow-citizens of their undivided loyalty and devotion to this great country and the principles for which it stands.

Wouldn't it be indeed a wonderful world if each of us, rather than looking for the faults and ugliness in our neighbors and other nationalities, would just see the shortcomings and weaknesses in ourselves?

For those of you who still suspect our loyalty, we want you to know that we harbor no hatred toward you. Instead, we'll be praying for that glorious day when everyone all over this world, regardless of race, color, religion, background, or station in life, would all join hands together and live as God intended for us to live...as brothers.

Aiko Masada

Copyrighted by the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian. Reproduced by permission.