Grim, Tragic Anniversary: 70 Years Since Executive Order 9066 Forcing Japanese American Internment Camps

Today is a grim, sad anniversary, 70 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, forcing the internment of about 110,000 Japanese American men, women and children, two and a half months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, bringing America into World War II.

This denial of the Bill Of Rights, one of the worst violations of civil liberties in US history, was imposed out of hysteria and panic after the Pearl Harbor attack, and very few people or groups denounced it, and it was later upheld as a necessary war action by a wartime US Supreme Court decision.

It is shocking in itself, but even more so when one considers the fact that first Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, highly disturbed by the decision of her husband, complained to him, and was angrily told never to bring up the issue again.

This shows how the Presidency can give one, even as outstanding in other ways as Franklin D. Roosevelt, a sense of cockiness and arrogance, that he can lose a sense of what is right and wrong, and what is necessary.

This is one of the most despicable acts of FDR in office, and compensation for the surviving victims came only in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed into law an apology, and compensation of $20,000 per survivor.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Americans who served in segregated units in World War II were heroes, who accomplished more than any other military units of that war, and were finally given recognition by the US Mint in 2011 with a special medal commissioned for public sale to commemorate their heroism.