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.

Using words and pictures, the 227-foot stone and cedar wall will tell the story of the 227 Bainbridge residents of Japanese ancestry who were rounded up and sent to internment camps in California and Idaho. The Bainbridge families were the first of the more than 120,000 Japanese-Americans exiled in camps for the duration of the war.

The story wall is the latest phase in the $9 million memorial project.

Earlier phases included construction of boardwalks, bridges, and paths through the 8-acre forested site on Eagle Harbor’s south shore.

The site also includes a traditional Japanese-style pavilion and yellow cedar gates built by a local timber framer’s guild.

Future work includes a $900,000 pier replicating the one the island’s Japanese-Americans were shipped from in 1942.

The grant was awarded through the NPS’s Japanese-American Confinement Sites program. Created by Congress in 2006, the program is aimed at preserving sites in the United States where Japanese-Americans were sequestered after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

More than 20 projects in a dozen states received grants this year.

Washington state’s three other grant recipients are all Seattle-based. They include a website initiative, an oral history project and the Wing Luke Asian Museum.

For more information about the memorial, visit www.bijac.org

Photo: Tristan Baurick

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

  1. $5.8 million to go to reach the $9 million cost. How much more of this will be US taxpayer money?

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