After the attack on Pearl Harbor, America was abruptly thrust into an already-raging world war. There was fear and panic in America, which led to Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, ordering that all Japanese-Americans living on the west coast be rounded up and sent to relocation centers and internment camps. They were told to take one suitcase – not even a pet was allowed. These law-abiding citizens lost their businesses, homes and civil liberties as they were blindly judged guilty with just the stroke of a pen. During the evacuations, many citizens remember certain events: a young man living in a small town realized that his neighbors just vanished one day; a young lady from Colorado remembers the Army transporting women prisoners in open trucks; a Japanese-American woman and her family traveling east on Route 66 remembers being met at the edge of every town by the local law enforcement and escorted through to make sure they did not settle in the area. The internment camps, surrounded with barbed wire and tall observation towers, were guarded by armed Military Police. The camps were thrown up hastily – many with only tar paper and plywood – with no insulation for the harsh weather. Several families were assigned to each living area and they had to hang cloth to create private spaces for themselves. After the war, the families were finally released, but their homes and businesses were gone. They had to start over again. We here at 10-4 Magazine have a personal connection to this dark time as Jean Osugi, our Japanese-American office manager since the beginning, and her family were forced to live in an internment camp in Colorado for six years when she was just a baby! In an effort to correct the errors of the past, President Ronald Reagan, in 1988, signed the Civil Liberties Act acknowledging the wrongful acts perpetrated on these innocent people, which offered each survivor not only an official apology, but also $20,000.
SharLeigh has an inquisitive nature – she is interested in current events, history, science and many more subjects, including things that go bump in the night! Since 1997, SharLeigh has scoured the internet, looking for interesting, fun and timely topics covering all sorts of human-interest subjects for her articles from her home in Fontana, CA.