When Heroes Are Not Welcomed Home

Feb 16, 2015

Meeting Date: February 13th, 2015

Air Date: February 16th, 2015

A World War II soldier was back home in Hood River and wearing his uniform, complete with Silver and Bronze Stars, when his barber told him, “I oughtta slit your throat!” 

Speaker Linda Tamura, EdD, gathered oral histories from World War II soldiers from Hood River, Oregon, where their families were landowners and fruit growers. Those Nisei (second-generation Japanese-Americans) veterans were American citizens, who served in the U.S. Army while their parents and siblings were imprisoned in relocation camps. 

After the war, town leaders, including veterans' groups, tried to prevent their return to Hood River. The experiences those soldiers endured, as one review of the book points out, “speaks to contemporary concerns about multiculturalism and diversity.”

Tamura’s book, Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence, shares the veteran’s stories of fighting on the front lines in Italy and France, of serving as linguists in the South Pacific, and working as cooks and medics. Tamura’s traveling exhibit “What If Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?” is at the Lane County Historical Museum through the end of February.

Doug Kenck-Crispin will describe how the Hood River experience and the impact of Executive Order 9066 affected Japanese Americans  in Lane and neighboring Counties.  He will also detail UO Dean Karl Onthank’s stand against the relocation order and his efforts to help transfer Japanese American UO students to universities and colleges outside the coastal military zone of exclusion.

copyright, 2015 KLCC