The nation was flooded with fear after the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbor in 1941. Across the country, it lead America to infringe on the civil liberties of tens and thousands of its citizens of Japanese origins. Almost 120,000 Japanese Americans were detained in 10 internment camps across the United States a year after the bombing.
2/3 of those detained had U.S. citizenship.
Japanese Internment Camp- Amache
The smallest camp, Amache in southeast Colorado, contained around 10,000 interns between 1942 and 1945, reaching a high of 7,318 people in 1943.
In the camp, internees were housed in barracks of the military style. They were employed in producing agricultural products, while others worked at the shop for silkscreen or in the store owned by the cooperative. There were also barbershops, schools for children, and an infirmary. Amache also had the highest number of interns who volunteered to be drafted to serve throughout World War II as an internment camp. After the war, most such installments were sold through War Assets Administration.
The Japanese internment was among America’s bigotry and cowardice and committed the most shameful acts. Later, President Ronald made a formal apology for the action stating it was gravely wrong.
Today marks the 80th anniversary of the executive order that forced the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans at facilities like Amache in Colorado during WWII.— Michael Bennet (@SenatorBennet) February 20, 2022
I joined @SecDebHaaland along with Amache survivors and descendants at the site to mark this solemn anniversary. pic.twitter.com/T3sd1UxuBF
Then the camp laid back for quite a while until a high school teacher, John Hopper, discovered the site. When he first saw the site, it seemed like a cactus bush with cattle around it.
Then, three years on, a few of Hopper’s “really bright and willing students” were interested in interviewing the camp survivors, which caused him to start an organization called The Amache Preservation Society (APS). The extracurricular activities associated with Amache and its past transformed into a course at Granada.
Through the years, students in the class have been working to preserve the site by caring for the cemetery and other landmarks. They volunteer at the site as tour guides or museum guides.
Through the years, due to the hard work of pupils, Amache has been a site for survivors of the camp and their families to pay homage to loved ones while keeping the memories of the tragic event in the forefront. The students’ experience caring for Amache and its story is a lesson in compassion.
A junior at the school mentions that he’s learned a lot about empathy and sometimes thinks about what life he would have had if he was made to live in the camp back in the post-war era.
For Hopper as the student dean for Granada School District RE-1, it’s a chance to authenticate students on individual rights.
President Joe Biden officially designated Amache as the part of National Park Service in June of 2022. Though the students of Granada already considered it as a national park.
The internment act of Americans against innocent Japanese civilians is now seen as a disgrace in American history. This shouldn’t happen again. The best method to avoid that is to remember the past and never forget the lessons it taught us. Hopper, along with his pupils’ fantastic work, has helped keep those precious memories alive for the next generation, which has allowed them to help protect everyone from unfairness.
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