History lesson: Gatewood students visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial

Seventy-two years ago today, on February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which led to the internment of more than 110,000 people in Western states, including ours, because they were from Japan or of Japanese ancestry. Before mid-winter break, students from Gatewood Elementary traveled to the historic site on Bainbridge Island formally known as the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial to learn about this. Teacher Darren Radu shared their report and photos:

We are students of Team Mt. Si at Gatewood Elementary. Over the past three months, we have been studying Japanese Internment during World War II. Did you know that as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, many people were suspicious of perfectly innocent Japanese and Japanese Americans, who were then forced to move to internment camps? The camps were terrible places (many cabins were horse and cow stables!) for people to live and the Japanese did not have a choice about moving. Internment affected many residents and families from the Seattle area.

We took a field trip with our teachers Ms. Moran, Ms. Ott, and Mr. Radu to Bainbridge Island to visit the Japanese Internment Memorial. We visited the actual beach where many local Japanese and Japanese Americans boarded ferries that took them to camps. The Memorial helped us to experience what it was like to be in their shoes.

We also met our friend and amazing local artist, Steve Gardner, who showed us some of the ceramic sculptures he created for the memorial.

His work illustrates the lives of Bainbridge Japanese people before, during, and after internment.

We also worked with our teacher Colleen Moran to take a stand on the events of World War II by writing persuasive essays. It was important for us to learn about Japanese Internment because it helped us to learn from the past and to avoid making the same mistakes. We hope that other people will take the time to visit the Internment Memorial and continue to fight for justice, too!

Here’s a link to information about the Memorial:


The Students of Team Mt. Si
Gatewood Elementary

This HistoryLink.org page shows how what was termed an “evacuation” unfolded in Seattle starting two months after President Roosevelt’s order.

9 Replies to "History lesson: Gatewood students visit the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial"

  • A.D. Jacobs February 20, 2014 (6:48 am)

    The children should have been taught that E.O. 9066 applied to any and all persons, including German Americans and Italian Americans; and that German Americans and Italian Americans were also interned in the U.S. during World War II. This is a duplicate post because my first post did not show!

    • WSB February 20, 2014 (8:55 am)

      I don’t know that they did not. We happen to have this historic site in our area, and that would have been the impetus for the field trip.

  • WWII history enthusiast February 20, 2014 (6:35 pm)

    A.D. Jacobs – I would love to see a historical reference for that kind of information. I have never heard of this. The notification for EO 9066 that was posted widely, specifically speaks of Japanese Americans, and no mention is made of German Americans or Italian Americans.

    I know that there were Italian Nationals who were imprisoned, but they were captured and were essentially POWs, not Americans.

    Like I said, I would love to see documentation or direct me to a reference where this is verifiable.

  • A.D. Jacobs February 20, 2014 (11:34 pm)

    World War II History enthusiast…Transcript of Executive Order 9066: Resulting in the Relocation of Japanese (1942)
    print-friendly version

    Executive Order No. 9066

    The President

    Executive Order

    Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas

    Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

    Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

    I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

    I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

    This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt

    The White House,

    February 19, 1942.

    And after you have read this please visit foitimes.com

    • WSB February 21, 2014 (7:00 am)

      The actual document has been linked in the story since it was published. Every blue word/phrase on WSB is a link to follow for more information … and always has been … we believe in the open Internet and the power of linking so you can find out more.

  • A.D. Jacobs February 21, 2014 (7:15 am)

    WSB….I provided the document so that the person who had previously posted could read the “any or all persons may be excluded”… And I was unaware that WSB had linked to EO 9066….

  • Clarence Moriwaki February 21, 2014 (2:53 pm)

    As President of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, I was thrilled to see that our artist Steven Gardner visited our site with students from Gatewood Elementary School’s Team Mt. Si! I wish we could have known earlier, I would have loved to have personally hosted the tour1

    In the 13 years that I’ve been involved with this wonderful memorial and community, A.D. Jacobs’ comment often comes up, that FDR’s Executive Order 9066 could also apply to people of German and Italian ancestry, and indeed, according to which source is cited, upwards of 15,000 German and Italian nationals and their relatives were also incarcerated during World War II.

    However, A.D. Jacobs failed to mention is that those 15,000 were not placed is mass concentration camps, and the most salient point and primary distinction is that the Civilian Exclusion Orders were ONLY imposed on people of Japanese Ancestry, exiling more than 120,000 or 95% of the total US population of Japanese and Japanese Americans.

    There were NO mass Civilian Exclusion Orders issued at all for people of German or Italian ancestry, which would have incarcerated tens of millions of people, including such historic luminaries like Italian American,Joe Dimaggio and German American Dwight Eisenhower.

    Not mentioned in the article is the maxim of our memorial: “Nidoto Nai Yoni – Let It Not Happen Again.” It is our hopeful wish that the students from Gatewood Elementary School and every visitor leaves inspired that in times of crisis to not fall for the voices of fear or hate, but to be strong, vigilant and protect the constitutional rights, freedoms and civil liberties for all.

  • Darren Radu February 21, 2014 (8:45 pm)

    Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Moriwaki,

    Thank you for the discourse and extra information. We will continue to address the broader meaning and impact of EO 9066 with students moving forward.

    Mr. Moriwaki, we had arranged for a surviving internee to lead our tour, however she was unable to arrange transportation and had to cancel at the last minute. We did attempt to contact BIJAC, and we’d be honored to have you lead our tour the next time we bring students to the Memorial.

    And, we echo this sentiment: “It is our hopeful wish that the students from Gatewood Elementary School and every visitor leaves inspired that in times of crisis to not fall for the voices of fear or hate, but to be strong, vigilant and protect the constitutional rights, freedoms and civil liberties for all.” Hear, hear!

  • Robert Seward February 21, 2014 (9:30 pm)

    Mr. Radu,
    Mr. Jacobs is a former internee. The most important issue of theGermanAmerican experience is the legal legacy. Ludecke v.Watkins was a Supreme Court case that deals with internment and deportation of immigrants of belligerent nations. I would strongly encourage you to research that case.

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