Show tolerance

Posted: Monday, September 17, 2001

My seven siblings and I were born to immigrant parents from Japan. As most people are aware, during WWII we were placed in relocation (concentration) camps because of our racial background. As I reflect upon the experience of our family as a typical Japanese-American family in this country, I feel we have significantly contributed to the strength of this nation built upon racial and religious diversity and tolerance.

My parents did not lie idle during the war, but contributed through their participation in the critical harvest of fruits and vegetables despite their confinement to the camps. My four male siblings and I as well as the spouses of my sisters served in the U.S. military during WWII and the Korean confrontations. We were the fortunate ones to have survived these experiences. This was not the experience of many men and women of Japanese-American ancestry who gave their lives in defense of our country and our guiding principles. We have each continued to contribute to the strong foundation of our multiethnic nation in our individual and personal ways. My personal last 10 years were spent as the director of our state of Alaska public health and health programs.

I am hopeful that we can encourage our fellow citizens to avoid directing the release of hostilities and retaliations upon a generic group of people innocent of the activities that have taken place in New York, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania.

I have shared this small bit of my personal family experience to add to those who remind all of us that we need to demonstrate tolerance and direct our anger and actions on those individuals who have perpetrated the recent demonic acts of terrorism on our country and not direct our actions generically at a race of people or the religions that guide them.

Dr. Peter Nakamura


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