THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

183

TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

URGING FULL PRESERVATION OF THE WORLD WAR II HONOULIULI INTERNMENT CAMP AS A NATIONAL MONUMENT, MUSEUM, AND RESTORED MEMORIAL PARK FOR THE STATE OF HAWAII.

 

 


     WHEREAS, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, authorized the mass forced removal and detention of all Japanese-Americans living on the west coast of the United States, over 110,000 persons, two‑thirds of whom were American citizens; and

 

     WHEREAS, the congressionally appointed Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (CWRIC) concluded in its 1983 report that the internment of Japanese-Americans was caused not by the stated rationale of "military necessity" but by "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership"; and

 

     WHEREAS, Japanese in Hawaii were spared the draconian treatment meted out to those on the mainland because martial law had already been declared in Hawaii, because the Japanese comprised over thirty-five per cent of the population making it logistically difficult to detain such large numbers of people, and because Hawaii's productivity depended on the resident Japanese; and

 

     WHEREAS, government authorities rounded up several hundred of Hawaii's Japanese-Americans in the days following the attack on Pearl Harbor, took away their homes and other property, and herded them into internment camps scattered throughout the islands:  Sand Island on Oahu, Kilauea on the Big Island, Haiku on Maui, and Kalaheo and Wailua on Kauai; and

 

     WHEREAS, those who were initially arrested represented the leadership of the local Japanese immigrant community:  religious and cultural leaders, Japanese language school instructors, and leaders of Japanese immigrant organizations such as newspapers, prefectural groups, and social/cultural groups; and

 

     WHEREAS, after neighbor island internment camps closed, the camp on Sand Island became the site for detainees from all the islands, and when Sand Island closed on March 1, 1943, the vast majority of internees were transferred to camps in the continental United States; and

 

     WHEREAS, the three hundred or so remaining internees were then transferred to the newly built camp at Honouliuli, where most were imprisoned for the duration of the war, without ever being charged with a crime, and having received only token hearings; and

 

     WHEREAS, the wooden barracks and tents of the Alien Internment Camp, later known as POW Compound Number 6, were set up in an isolated gulch in Honouliuli, now beautiful with wild, natural foliage; and

 

     WHEREAS, the concrete remnants of Honouliuli's internment buildings--drainage catchment and pipes, floors, foundations, and walls--remain as proof of the site's former purpose, when armed guards patrolled the camp, which was ringed with double barbed-wire fences and guard towers; and

 

     WHEREAS, Japanese-Americans from Hawaii served in World War II in numbers disproportionate to their population, mostly in the segregated 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, described as the most decorated unit in American military history for its size and length of service and memorialized in the Hollywood film Go for Broke; and

 

     WHEREAS, Japanese-Americans also served in World War II in the Military Intelligence Service as translators and interpreters who played a key role in the Pacific War and in the 1399th Engineering Construction Battalion in Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, while the United States fought in World War II to combat the evil of genocide and to protect freedom and democracy around the globe, on the home front, our country implemented an era of tremendous suppression of civil liberties due to racial discrimination; and

 

     WHEREAS, the shame of the World War II internment camps is a mar on our country's reputation as the great protector of freedom; and

 

     WHEREAS, the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II remains a largely untold story of the great injustice suffered by these loyal Americans by the United States; and

 

     WHEREAS, many former internment camps throughout the country have already or will soon disappear; and

 

     WHEREAS, preserving Honouliuli's history will remind all of the need to guard against the injustice bred by fear and racism, and honor the memories of those who were detained at Honouliuli; and

 

     WHEREAS, concerned groups are planning to build a memorial to tell the tragic stories of these World War II internment camps and their impact on the internees and their families, to encourage the protection of civil rights, with the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and its Hawaii Confinement Sites Committee lending historical and cultural expertise to ensure that the significance of the site is preserved; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Legislature support a national monument, museum, and memorial park to be established at the former site of the Honouliuli internment camp; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the federal government, the Hawaii state government, the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and other private stakeholders are urged to work together to make this memorial site a reality; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Park Service is requested to play a key role in this effort, and eventually take over custody, ownership, and responsibility for the memorial site; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of the Interior, the President of the Monsanto Company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, and to each member of Hawaii's congressional delegation.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title: 

Honouliuli Internment Camp Site; Memorial Park Site