OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU program focuses on World War II internment camps

02/03/2000

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will host a panel discussion on "Japanese Americans and WWII: America's Concentration Camps" on Friday, Feb. 18.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled at 1 p.m. in the campus International Forum in recognition of the National Day of Remembrance on Feb. 19.

Panel members are Japanese Americans who will discuss being held in American internment camps during World War II. National Day of Remembrance marks the 58th anniversary of President Franklin Roosevelt signing Executive Order 9066. The order authorized the government to force 120,000 Japanese Americans and legal residents from their homes and into internment camps during World War II out of fear they were capable of committing acts of treason and espionage.

The first National Day of Remembrance was held in 1998 at the Smithsonian Institution Museum of American History in partnership with the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund.

OSU Panel members include Eugene residents Florence Date Smith and Kenge Kobayashi and Corvallis resident Richard Morita, an OSU emeritus professor of microbiology.

Morita was initially sent to an Arizona camp and later served in the U.S. Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the Army's most decorated unit. At full-strength the unit had only 4,500 men, but earned more than 3,900 individual decorations.

Smith taught fourth-grade at a Topaz, Utah, internment camp and Kobayashi has completed two paintings based on his experiences in the camps.

At 5 p.m. in the OSU Memorial Union Lounge, the campus Japanese Student Association will sponsor a musical program.