Okay, here goes.
On our drive from San Jose to Klamath Falls, Oregon, we passed Mount Shasta.
JULY 2009 TULE LAKE PILGRIMAGE
This was the 17th Pilgrimage to Tule Lake, but this was the first one for me and my wife, and this one had the largest number of attendees with 410. They usually limit their attendance to 300 people, but the Tule Lake Committee (TLC) received so many applications this year that they accommodated all who applied.
The Tule Lake Committee is made up of six board members and 22 volunteers who plan all the events, our accommodations, food, and transporation. It goes without saying that they not only work very hard, but they do a yeoman's job of coordinating everything while we are there. I thought the programs were excellent, but the one complaint most of us had was the fact that we were able to pick only one workshop to attend out of several interesting ones offered. There were eight workshops, but I'll name only the first four: 1) Preserving the Tule Lake Segregation Center, 2) Eliminating Racism through Peer Counseling, 3) Concentration Camps vs Relocation Centers, Internees vs Prisoners, and 4) Spiritual Healing and the Tule Lake Pilgrimage. They also had volunteers to help the elderly and at different venues such as the souvenir shop where my wife and I volunteered for two shifts. We had attendees come from Japan, Hong Kong, Virginia, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, Massachusettes, New York, Washington State, Oregon, and of coarse the majority were from California with quite a few from Los Angeles. About 15% of the attendees had non-Japanese surnames, and we saw many Eurasian children.
Tule Lake was established as one of the ten camps throughout the western states with one in Arkansas, most in isolated areas. The government called them “relocation” or “internment” camps, but by any dictionary definition, they were “concentration” camps. The government moved 120,000 people from the west coast into these camps, and many were shifted from one camp to another during the war years. The camp is actually located north of Newell, a small country town. TLSC housed 18,500 inmates, one of the biggest of the camps. I believe there was a small camp located in Arkansas that housed 4,000 inmates which was closed early to save on cost.
All persons over the age of 17 were asked loyalty questions, and the people became known as the “yes, yes” or “no, no” people.
The two loyalty questions were:
#27. Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered?
#28. Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any and all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and forswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other foreign government, power or organization?
The Japanese-Americans put into these concentration camps were put into prison without any rights of legal representation or charge of any crime. 7 out of 10 were naturalized citizens of the country by birth, and were forced out of their homes and businesses and imprisoned at 10 squalid concentration camps with barbed wires and army armed guards. 12,000 angry persons of Japanese ancestry refused to answer the two infamous questions about their loyalty when all of their Constitutional and Bill of Rights were taken away; they left those two questions blank, answered “no” or qualified their answer by saying they would first need to regain their Constitutional rights by being released from the camp. These were the persons who were segregated into Tule Lake as enemy aliens.
Our mother who really didn't read or understand much English, even though she was born in Portland, Oregon, and educated in Japan, answered “no.” Those segregated into Tule Lake had the choice of “returning” or going to Japan after the war; some for the very first time. Luckily for our family, my brother who is only one year older than I talked our mother out of it, and we stayed in California. Our mother was ready to return to Japan where she was educated, but Japan didn't have enough food or shelter to service their own citizens during or after the war. Adding to that crisis with more mouths to feed would have created even greater hardships for everybody.
Knock on wood, as the saying goes.
For most of us in the surrounding states, we spent two days in travel time, and two days in actual pilgrimage activities.
July 2, Thursday:
This was a very long travel day that began when our friends picked us up at 5:45AM to drive to the United Methodist Church in San Jose for our pickup point. The bus departed about a half hour late, and we had a couple of rest stops plus our lunch stop in Redding at the United Methodist Church " for two hours. Between Redding and Klamath Falls, one of the busses had a break-down, so we had to stop to see how we could have some of their passengers share our bus. It was decided by the monitors to drive us to the nearest air conditioned coffee shop, drop us off, then the bus return to pick up the rest to bring them to the coffee shop where they could wait in air conditioned comfort until their bus was repaired or a replacement sent. We ended up at the Klub Klondike, the oldest bar and restaurant in Lakehead. In it's early years, about 60 years ago, the second floor had a whore house. At least that's what the plate in the front of the building claimed. We arrived at the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) in Klamath Falls, Oregon, about 12 hours after our departure from San Jose. We were provided time for dinner at the cafeteria after getting our keys to our room at the Residence Hall. They gave us an hour orientation including the introduction of the Tule Lake Committee members.
We learned later that those who had to wait for another bus arrived at OIT after 10:00PM. We slept very well that night.
Will continue tomorrow with more pictures and our activities on July 3.