The Oregonian, August 14, 2022
To understand the meaning and humanity of Saturday’s highway renaming ceremony in Hood River, you need to appreciate all the random events that made it possible, the first one taking place more than 65 years ago.
Linda Tamura, then 9, lived in Hood River and was going to summer camp on the Oregon coast. Her mother gave her a green duffel bag, telling her daughter that she’d used the bag when she, too, went to camp.
“For so long I thought mom and I’d shared wonderful camp experiences,” said Tamura, now 73. “Swimming, sitting by the campfire and enjoying life away from home. Then I discovered my mother had gone to a very different camp.”
Her mother’s life was upended in 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, leading the United States to enter World War II. Officials feared espionage from Japanese residents living along the West Coast, even from Nisei – second-generation Japanese Americans, citizens born and raised in the United States.
President Franklin Roosevelt then signed Executive Order 9066, forcing more than 120,000 Japanese to leave their communities and imprisoning them in out-of-state “internment camps.” At the same time, 33,000 Nisei joined the armed services, fighting to protect the country that had imprisoned their loved ones.
She arrived with the green duffel bag.
After the war she returned to Hood River and met a Nisei who had served in the U.S. Army while his family was incarcerated. They married and started a family.
Their daughter, Linda Tamura, knew none of this.
Photo by S. Flynn Phillips