SITKA - A new state park, which was built on Sitka's World War II past, has been dedicated.
The dedication last weekend of the Fort Rousseau Causeway State Historical Park concludes two decades of work by the parks' Citizens Advisory Board, Sitka Trail Works, Sitka Historical Society, the National Park Service and other Sitka groups to recognize and preserve the history of the Causeway.
Rep. Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell, sponsored House Bill 176, which was signed into law April 1 to create the 58-acre state park to preserve, interpret and restore the site for public use.
The causeway was part of the Sitka Naval Air Station, and Fort Ray Army facilities were built up in the early 1940s to protect the area from attack by the Japanese.
Five days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, authorization was given to connect the string of islands between Japonski and Makhnati islands, where fortifications were installed.
As part of the weekend activities, Pauline Fredrickson, 79, took part in a panel discussion recalling World War II life in Sitka.
She said she has vivid memories of events in Sitka following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Fredrickson, then 11, was at home with her mother, she recalled, when her mother looked out the window and suddenly exclaimed, "Oh my God!"
"I turned around and saw people with their hands on top of their heads, two by two, walking down the boardwalk." Fredrickson said.
Fredrickson recalled the confusion she and her mother felt at the sight of these local residents being marched away as prisoners.
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