Wednesday, December 07, 2016


Seventy five years ago, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor lead to Roosevelt's speech the following day which included the historical quote "A date which will live in infamy."  Story, video and transcript here.

However, what I want to focus on today is Camp Amache.

The camp, also known as the Granada War Relocation Center, was located a few miles to the southwest of the small community of Granada in the southeastern plains of Colorado on US 50 between Lamar and Holly.  The links above provide ample information about the camp, but I want to highlight two recent articles in the Denver Post related to the camp.
Granada Students

You can read the first article, by Kevin Simpson, here.  It tells the story of one teacher, John Hopper, who has worked with his students for 20 years to keep the memories of the camp alive.  “I think it’s important that the younger generation understands what happened,” Hopper says of what’s now regarded as a dark period of American history, “so it doesn’t happen again.”  What started as an exercise in living history has expanded into preservation and restoration of the site, collection of artifacts from the camp, and recording personal stories of the Japanese-Americans who were held there.  After reading this story, we have put this internment camp on our to-do list.
 Governor Carr

The second article, by Jesse Paul, can be read here.  It is the story of Colorado Governor Ralph Carr who both accepted the directive of President Roosevelt to relocate Japanese Americans to internment camps as well as demanding and insuring that the camp residents would be treated with respect and dignity.  Carr was pretty much a lone voice at the time - “If you harm them,” the Republican said in 1942, “you must first harm me” - and it likely cost him what was considered to be a very promising political career.

Personal note - December 7th, 1941, was a Sunday, and my parents along with their 6-month old daughter were having noon-time dinner with relatives in Pigeon, Michigan, when the news of the attack came on the radio.  My mother vividly remembers the dark feeling that she had, thinking that she might soon be left alone without a husband and father for Kay.  As it turned out, dad got an agricultural deferment for the durance of the war as did many in the farming community.

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