Remembering & Honoring 70 Years Later

Some interesting WWII history for you:

Did you know that 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9066? This order, issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, forced all persons with Japanese ancestry to be removed from the West Coast leading to the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans. Individuals with as little as 1/8 Japanese blood were evacuated.

The evacuations created chaos throughout West with thousands of families seeking new homes outside of the stated borders. And, anyone who even tried to house Japanese Americans feared penalty from the government.

So, how is this relevant to The Salvation Army?

During this time, the greatest question for The Salvation Army was “what would happen to the orphans?” You see, The Salvation Army’s  Japanese Children’s Home was home to Japanese orphans of all ages, many of whom lived there for years.

Following the order, The Salvation Army made numerous attempts to protect the children from having to move to the camp. A Salvation Army superintendent, passionate to save the children from internment, did all that he could to resist the order.

Evacuee orphans of Japanese ancestry on July 1, 1942 at the Children's Village at the War Relocation Authority Center at Manzanar. Photo Courtesy of www.tsagoldenstate.org.

After the initial order of evactuation following Pearl Harbor, The Salvation Army refused to move the children. When the government denied their requests to keep the children, the superintendent moved them from the San Francisco orphanage to Lytton Springs, CA.

Approximately 22 children lived in Lytton until they were forced to transfer the children again. After multiple failed attempts, The Salvation Army was forced to surrender the children to the internment camps. As a result, several children were moved to the War Relocation Authority Center’s Children’s Village at Manzanar where they joined other evacuees from Los Angeles. Manzanar imprisoned approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans until its closure in 1945.

Years later, The Salvation Army hosted a reunion for past residents of the children’s home which provided an opportunity for old friends to reunite and recall their time with The Salvation Army.

On this anniversary, The Salvation Army remembers those who suffered as a a result of this order, and honors the individuals, such as the superintendent and other churches and orphanages, who worked so hard to save the Japanese children.

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Thank you, Salvation Army Golden State Division for sharing this story! Visit their website at www.tsagoldenstate.org. You can also find them on Facebook here.

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