Our gratitude goes out to Roy and Miriam Hatamiya, who related their experiences to our reporter Jake Abbott for a story last Sunday about the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the internment program.
Their families, of Japanese descent, were caught up by that order issued by President Roosevelt at the onset of World War II directing authorities to deal with any perceived threats presented by people of Japanese ancestry living in America.
While they could relate their experiences and the sights and events they witnessed, an important part of their story is how they adjusted and moved ahead with life, being integral members of our community, farming, teaching, working for civil rights for all.
We've never heard of evidence that the massive action — internment during the war of thousands of individuals of Japanese ancestry — really prevented any of the spying or sabotage that was feared. We have heard how it broke up families, disrupted communities, punished innocent families. And we've read the evidence on how the massive action must have diverted immense time and resources away from legitimate war efforts.
Of course it's silly to second-guess a president who 75 years ago was faced with the most terrible of worldwide wars … but still, we regret that we treated both aliens and citizens living and working here as if they were enemies, when they were anything but.
By the way: The stories, that suddenly popped up in issues of the Appeal-Democrat around this time 75 years ago about the FBI and authorities "rounding up" aliens and then citizens of Japanese ancestry … that story line is just one of hundreds in the WWII coverage happening in the pages of the publication produced by a local newsroom.
A very large part of newspaper reporting in those days, just as is the case today, involved the printing of state, national and international news provided by the Associated Press or other wire services (and to be clear on that point, the Appeal wasn't swiping that coverage; it was a member of the cooperative news operation and paid for the right to publish).
But just as important, then as now, there was local reporting. It was done by actual people who got up in the morning, got dressed, went out and talked to people and watched things happen and then created the content … they weren't waiting around for someone else to print or send them news so they could conveniently reprint it at no expense.
Just felt like saying that.
More relevant to local residents, if you want to see real drama unfolding bit by bit, go to one of the local libraries and load up a reel of microfilm of Appeal-Democrat issues from any part of the WWII era and flip from front page to front page … you'll likely get sucked into it all for hours.
Thumbs Up: Last year's "Elegant Soiree" raised $39,000 for the United Way's 27 local partner agencies, all local nonprofits. This year, the goal is $45,000.
It's always a good opportunity to sample some great food and wine. If you haven't been, or haven't been in a while, give it a go: April 28, 6:30 p.m., Colusa Casino Resort. Go to yuba-sutterunitedway.org for more info.
(Oh, and another great cause … the Marysville Kiwanis will do a ton of investing in local youth and community programs with the proceeds of the 30th annual "Italian Night" April 22 at the fairgrounds. Great music, great food, great people. I … ahem … would be happy to direct anyone to a member to purchase advance tickets … heck, I probably have some tickets lying around.)
We're proud of our community's great diversity in race and culture … yet we hear some third-rate comments from time to time about one or another of our cultural groups. It's usually the run-of-the-mill ignorance.
That said, we appreciate the news of a new public education program happening around the country: "We are Sikhs." We ran an Associated Press story about it in the Thursday edition.
We admire the tack they're taking — instead of recounting the hundreds of attacks Sikhs have suffered, they feature families explaining things about the world's fifth-largest religion and how it aligns with American values.
It sounds like a classy program to take on a decidedly unclassy problem.
These were originally Seattle jokes … but it's beginning to feel like they're Yuba-Sutter jokes:
• A newcomer to Yuba-Sutter arrives on a rainy day. She gets up the next morning and it's raining. That night when she goes to bed it's raining. The day after that it's raining. She sees a kid out playing in the rain and she asks, "Hey, kid, does it ever stop raining around here?" The kid says, "I don't know … I'm only five."
• What do you call two straight days of rain in Yuba-Sutter? A weekend.
• Did you know Cinderella was a Yuba-Sutter native? That's why she needed a ferry to get to the ball.
• What, exactly, did Daylight Saving Time mean to Yuba-Sutter? That's right … an extra hour of rain.
• What did the Yuba-Sutter resident say to the Pillsbury doughboy? "Nice tan."