WWII-era internees will visit old camp
Sixty-five years ago, as a 2-year-old, Barbara Marumoto and her family lived in a horse stall as they and thousands of other Japanese Americans were forced into temporary relocation camps after the outbreak of World War II.
Today, she returns to the site in California just south of San Francisco as part of a mission to heal old wounds, to educate those who do not know and to reunite with others who shared the experience.
Marumoto, a Republican state representative, is taking part in the "Journey to Tanforan," an event organized to commemorate the 65th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942. The order authorized the internment of 120,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry and resident aliens from Japan.
"It was started by some of the former internees contacting us last year saying it's going to be the 65th anniversary and we should really do something," said Teresa Ono, director of development for the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, which is organizing the event.
Organizers expect about 500 people to attend the event, which will occur at the site of the former Tanforan Race Track, a horse-racing facility where Marumoto and her family were relocated. They lived in a horse stall during the summer of 1942 until being moved to permanent facilities in the interior of the country.
"To this day, the word 'installation' still has special meaning for me," Marumoto (R, Kalani Valley-Diamond Head) once wrote in an opinion column.
Now, the former Tanforan Assembly Center is the site of a shopping center.
The Shops at Tanforan in San Bruno will feature a re-enactment of the evacuation and arrival at Tanforan Assembly Center and special guest speakers. The first reunion luncheon for Tanforan internees is scheduled to be held after the formal program. About 400 people are expected to attend the reunion luncheon, Ono said.