Japanese Reparations

Your editorial (Aug. 15), "The Issue Is National Honor" hit a sensitive chord while bringing back memories of the days following Pearl Harbor when our Japanese-American friends and neighbors were picked up and shipped out via a military dragnet.

At the time I was working for the War Manpower Commission at the central aircraft recruiting office, 21st and Figueroa streets. Everyone was scared stiff in fear of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast. Fear and uncertainty produced false images of enemy aircraft over the Douglas Aircraft plant in Santa Monica. After dark, blackouts were imposed and monitored by "block wardens" to assure that nobody would light a cigar or cigarette which might be seen as a target for enemy aircraft overhead. The military assumed that spies were everywhere.

Then came the big roundup of the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were detained in "holding pens" at Santa Anita Race Track before being hauled off to internment camps far inland from the West Coast military zone. What an insult.

It's a shame that President Bush, with all his pledges to bring about a "kinder, more gentle America" is dragging his feet to the extent that what we have on the books is not a "redress bill" for the surviving internees but another nightmare--a "stress bill." Uncle Sam, shame, shame on you.

JACK L. RUGH

San Gabriel

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