Forum offers a chance to learn from history's mistakes

Acknowledge the lessons of history

Saturday's visit by Hood River native Dr. Homer Yasui to the forum, "Civil Liberties in a Time of War," at Riverside Community Church, provides a rare chance to learn from the past and the present.

The retired surgeon's return to his home town after many years might seem to be opening an old wound. But that is not the case. He was interned, along with other Hood River Japanese-Americans, and still feels a sense of resentment toward this community. (Please turn to page B1 for the full story.)

But Yasui's visit here, though potentially painful, provides one more chance for a man of experience to contribute to the community where he was born.

"It occurred to me that maybe we (Japanese Americans) might be able to help put alleged threats to our national security into perspective, based on our experiences in World War II," he told reporter Janet Cook. "In other words, to try to make things easier for Arab and Muslim Americans."

Certainly the changes in laws enacted since Sept. 11 -- an event often compared to Pearl Harbor -- demand that we scrutinize what our leaders are doing in the name of national security, and its effect on Arabs and Muslims (and those who are perceived as Arab or Muslim.)

That scrutiny will include contemporary experience, as viewed by three other speakers at Saturday's forum, as well as historical events as experienced by Yasui.

There is no need to rehash the wrongs that were done to American citizens who happened to be of Japanese descent, during World War II. They happened throughout the western United States, including Hood River. It is a part of our history we should neither shield nor bear too heavily on our shoulders.

The rich contributions to Hood River, then and now, of Japanese-American families, is like the core to an apple. Despite the traumas of World War II, Japanese-Americans remain a vital part of the community.

Today, Hood River boasts a 20-year-old sister city program with Tsuruta, Japan, and the relationship grows stronger all the time. Dr. Yasui's brother, Chop, founded the program. Mutual exchange visits, by both adults and youths, are planned in 2002 and 2003, between Hood River and Tsuruta.

On various paths, here and abroad, greater understanding will develop.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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