Tag Archives: internment

Federal grant awarded for internment memorial’s “story wall”

The effort to build a Japanese-American internment memorial received a $183,000 boost from the federal government this week.

The Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial’s grant was part of almost $3 million awarded by the National Park Service to projects that highlight the detainment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

“The Japanese-American internment experience is an important chapter in American history,” NPS Director Jon Jarvis said in a statement. “The National Park Service is honored to be part of this shared effort to preserve these sites, which are a tragic reminder of a shameful episode in our past, and a compelling lesson on the fragility of our constitutional rights.”

The Bainbridge memorial’s grant will pay almost two-thirds of the $300,000 needed to design and install interpretive materials on the recently-constructed “story wall,” said Clarence Moriwaki, who recently stepped down from chairing the memorial committee.

Continue reading

The Ballad of Walt Woodward

In my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration of their namesake, I mentioned that an 8th-grade student Ben Cowen had written a ballad about Walt Woodward.

I didn’t have room in the story to print the full lyrics, but I do here. Click down below.

By the way, Ben got a little research assistance from “Snow Falling on Cedars” author David Guterson, who also happens to be his next-door neighbor. Guterson’s novel has a key character that’s based on Walt Woodward.

“He brought over a book,” Ben said. “But what was funny was that I had already written most of the ballad. I had done plenty of research.”

The 14-year-old recently recorded the ballad and gave a CD copy to Mary Woodwood, one of Walt Woodward’s daughters. Ben plays violin on the track and enlisted a family friend to sing his lyrics.

Continue reading

There’s plenty more to the Woodwards than their stance on the internment

Just about every Bainbridge Islander is familiar with the historic stand Bainbridge Island Review publishers Walt and Millie Woodward took against the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

But Mary Woodward, who spoke on Monday at Woodward Middle School’s 100th birthday celebration for Walt Woodward, wants people to know there was much more to her parents.

Millie, for instance, successfully campaigned in the 1940s to get all the island’s abandoned wells capped, thereby improving water quality for hundreds of residents.

“That didn’t have a lot of flash and dash, but it did save a lot of kids’ lives,” Mary said.

Millie was also a teacher in Bainbridge schools, took part in the formation of the Kitsap Regional Library system and in what eventually became the One Call for All, which combined individual funding appeals from local nonprofits into one annual mail drive.

Walt, who died in 2001 and would have been 100 on Thursday, served a stint as chair of the state Pollution Control Hearings Board and was appointed the state’s first hearing examiner for the Shorelines Hearing Board. He was also the city of Winslow’s first land-use hearings examiner.

Walt was a founder of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, taught boating safety, served on the Seattle Times editorial board and managed the campaign of Republican Catherine May, the first woman elected to represent Washington in Congress.

But most importantly for Mary, the Walt and Millie were caring partners and parents.

“They did have a good marriage because they shared a lot with each other,” Mary told Woodward students. “And they were good parents. They made a good life for their daughters.”

You can read a whole lot more about what Mary thought of her parents in her photo-rich book “In Defense of Our Neighbors.” It’s at Eagle Harbor Books and the Bainbridge Public Library.

Click here to read my story about Woodward Middle School’s celebration. The story includes a photo gallery shot by Meegan Reid.

Internment memorial’s “story wall” breaks ground on Monday


Set to take shape later this month, a wall on Eagle Harbor’s south shore will tell the story of the first Japanese-Americans who were shipped off to internment camps during World War II.

The 272-foot-long “story wall” is the latest installment in the Japanese-American memorial project at the west edge of Pritchard Park.

The nonprofit Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Memorial Committee plans to break ground with a ceremony on March 30, a day that marks the 67th anniversary Japanese-Americans were exiled for the duration of the war.

Continue reading

Islander honored for internment memorial

Clarence Moriwaki was named conservationist of the year by the National Parks Conservation Association for his work to preserve the former Eagledale ferry dock as a National Park site and memorial to Japanese-Americans interned during World War II.

The Eagledale dock was the departure point for more than 200 residents living on Bainbridge Island — most U.S. citizens of Japanese descent — to internment camps in California and Idaho.

“On behalf of the generations before me — and with the hope of inspiring generations to come — I’m deeply humbled and honored to receive this award for the 120,000 Japanese Americans whose stories of sacrifice, courage, patriotism and grace are a shining and eternal beacon for freedom loving people everywhere,” Moriwaki said in a statement issued by the NPCA.

Woodward book celebrates the defence of island neighbors

Most islanders know the story of Walt Woodward’s fight against racism and war-time hysteria during and after the World War II eviction of Bainbridge’s Japanese Americans.

But never have they had such an intimate look, in both words and pictures, at Woodward and his wife Milly’s life during those years. “In Defense of Our Neighbors,” a new book by Mary Woodward, Walt and Milly’s daughter, is an up-close portrait of a dynamic and individualistic couple as they navigated the challenges of running the Bainbridge Review while providing a voice and a defense for the hundreds of residents banished from their island homes.

Mary Woodward will read from her photo-rich book at Eagle Harbor Books, 157 Winslow Way, on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Read Kitsap Sun book reviewer Barbara McMichael’s take on “In Defense of Our Neighbors” below.
Continue reading