NVC Newsletter

2016 Day of Remembrance

by Yuzo Tokita
March 2016, Volume 66, Issue 3

On February 18th, 2016, the Washington State House of Representatives again held their "Day Of Remembrance" in the House Chambers of the State Capitol in Olympia, Washington.  This year, the Seattle JACL chartered a large commercial bus to provide comfortable transportation for the trip from Seattle's Blaine United Methodist Church to and from Olympia.  JACL, thank you very much -- all bus riders appreciated the comfortable ride and also for the morning coffee and donuts!

At the start of the session in the Capital, our Seattle Nisei Vets members Tom Kometani, Yuzo Tokita and Frank Shinoda posted the colors to open the House session to declare and pass a "Day of Remembrance" Resolution.  The Resolution is to commemorate the World War II incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans after the outbreak of WWII against the Japanese after their attack on Pearl Harbor.  The Day of Remembrance is observed on or around February 19th, the date President Roosevelt authorized the incarceration by signing Executive Order 9066 in 1942.

House Speaker, Jim Moeller, called the House to order and announced the first order of the day was to pass the Day of Remembrance resolution.  He turned the floor over to Representative Tomiko Santos, but because she had a bout of laryngitis, she had a college, Representative Laurie Jenkins, open the resolution discussion in her stead.

Representative Jenkins provided an eloquent opening and returned the floor to the Speaker.  The Speaker then introduced Reverend Sala Sukiya from the Seattle Buddhist Church to open the session with words and a prayer.  This prayer opening was the first time a Japanese Buddhist priest spoke to the gathered House members.  She spoke in both Japanese and English and sang a Buddhist prayer to bless all in attendance!  It was a very moving and significant occurrence in the history of all the "Day of Remembrance" resolutions.

Following the formal House proceedings, a recess was called to allow visitors to gather in other rooms to meet with House and Senate members prior to lunch.  As in past years, Washington Senator Bob Hasegawa and Washington Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos hosted a superb luncheon for the predominately Japanese American visitors attending the Day of Remembrance Resolution declaration.  Approximately 80 visitors were served a wonderful bento lunch that was enjoyed by all!  Thank you so very much Bob Hasegawa and Tomiko Santos!

After a few speeches and greetings by Senators and Representatives, a mass group photo was taken.  Then after some final pleasantries, all those returning to Seattle proceeded to the JACL bus and boarded with satisfied and appreciative smiles for the trip home.