If you're looking for a unique and historical destination to visit while in Bainbridge Island, Washington, the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is a must-see attraction. This memorial site pays tribute to the Japanese-American community that was forcibly removed from the island during World War II and sent to internment camps.
The Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is located on the southern shore of Bainbridge Island, facing Seattle across Puget Sound. The memorial serves as a reminder of a dark period in American history when Japanese-American citizens were removed from their homes and businesses, forced to leave behind everything they had built, and sent to internment camps during World War II.
The memorial features a beautiful walkway, which leads visitors through a tranquil forested area to a contemplative area that features a wall of names. This wall lists the names of more than 270 people who were removed from Bainbridge Island during the internment. The wall is meant to honor those who were impacted by this unjust act and serves as a reminder of the importance of standing up for justice and human rights.
One of the most striking features of the memorial is the replica of the original sign that greeted Japanese-American residents when they were forced to leave the island. The sign reads, "Civilian Exclusion Order No. 1," and it is a chilling reminder of the government's decision to strip Japanese-Americans of their rights and freedoms during wartime. This replica sign is a powerful symbol of the injustices that were inflicted upon Japanese-Americans during this period.
Another unique aspect of the memorial is the story wall. This wall features personal stories of Japanese-Americans who were impacted by the internment. These stories provide a glimpse into the experiences of those who were affected and serve as a reminder that the internment was not just a government policy, but a deeply personal and traumatic event for those who lived through it.
Visiting the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is a powerful and humbling experience. The tranquil forest setting provides a peaceful backdrop for reflection and contemplation, while the memorial itself serves as a poignant reminder of a time when fear and prejudice led to injustice and discrimination.
Overall, the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial is an essential destination for anyone visiting Bainbridge Island. This memorial not only honors the Japanese-American community that was impacted by the internment but serves as a reminder of the importance of upholding justice and human rights for all people. By visiting this memorial, you can pay tribute to those who were affected by this dark chapter in American history and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of fear and prejudice on our society.