Feb. 19: Executive Order 9066

for Mary Tsukamoto (1915–1998)

The sweet-faced older woman
sat with me for hours telling
the story she’d relayed hundreds
of times.

She taught me the word “redress”
the same year she testified before
Congress, quietly but firmly,
one of 120,000 sent into exile
in 1942 for the crime of being
of Japanese descent.

She, the wife of a Florin
strawberry farmer who
who bundled up husband and
daughter before being sent
to “camp” in Jerome, Arkansas.

We did nothing wrong.
Though the paper had not yet
been posted, we knew the order
was coming. We left strawberries
in the fields just before harvest.
If they’d given us more time,
we could have had that food
for people.

She spoke of it all her life,
after returning home, becoming
a teacher, speaking for many
who could not, offering the lesson
again and again:

We say,
Nidoto Nai Yoni:
Let It Not Happen Again.

Remember this day
when the order was given.

Mary Tsukamoto and daughter Marielle in 1944, after their release from internment in Jerome, Arkansas

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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4 Responses to Feb. 19: Executive Order 9066

  1. Dick Tracy says:


  2. Mary Ann Carrasco says:

    Let us never forget. Very poignant and personal reminder of one of the several atrocities brought upon our citizens and residents by our own government.

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