Today has been declared a “Day of Remembrance” by Gov. Butch Otter to honor Japanese-Americans who were interned at concentration camps during World War II, including camps in Idaho. This is the sixth straight year that an Idaho governor has signed such a proclamation. “It is a time to reflect on the need for tolerance,” Robert Hirai, representing the Japanese-American Citizens League of Idaho and Eastern Oregon and the Friends of Minidoka, said before Otter signed the proclamation, flanked by a large group of area residents of Japanese ancestry. A new national monument is in the works at the former Minidoka internment camp in Idaho, and the National Parks Service reported progress on research for interpretive displays there. Otter, reading from the proclamation, said, “The U.S. government has recognized the injustice of the evacuation and the internment.” He also noted that some of those present were old friends from his days at Simplot Corp., when he worked with them in the farming business. “I’m very impressed that they remembered me,” the governor said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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