Museum events look at Japanese American WWII experience

The History Museum will host a special exhibit and event in January to remember the experiences of Japanese American citizens in World War II, and honor those who braved prejudices to help them or speak out against their treatment.

‘What if Heroes Were Not Welcome Home?’ exhibit, Jan. 2-Feb. 26

During World War II, Japanese Americans born and raised in Hood River, Oregon served heroically with the United States Armed Forces in the South Pacific and in Europe. At the same time, many of their family members were unjustly incarcerated in concentration camps on American soil. When these soldiers returned home to Oregon at the end of the war, the welcome they received was anything but heroic.

This exhibition uses firsthand accounts, photos, letters, and historical documents to show how wartime events brought national notoriety to the small community of Hood River. Visitors will be invited to make meaningful connections between the past and present — exploring the promise and reality of American democracy and equality.

The exhibit is curated by Linda Tamura and Marsha Matthews and is on tour through the Oregon Historical Society.

In coordination with this exhibit, The History Museum of Hood River County will also include opportunities for school and group tours as well as special activities for kids in the museum’s Exploration Space.

For tour information, contact Education Coordinator Carly Squyres at

‘Heroes Unheralded’ event, Jan. 12, 2 p.m.

During World War II, the community of Hood River, Oregon gained national notoriety for discrediting Japanese American war heroes. Residents removed the names of Japanese American GIs from their community honor roll and proposed a Constitutional amendment to deprive them of their citizenship. More than 1,800 signed petitions to discourage these Japanese American citizens and their families (who had been incarcerated in wartime camps on American soil for as long as three years) from returning to their homes and farms after the war.

In the face of this overwhelming community sentiment, a small number of selfless and courageous individuals stepped forward. Facing a tide of pressure and prejudice, they were subject to public censure themselves. Yet, these ordinary citizens demonstrated principles of justice and decency. Some spoke out against unfair treatment toward those of Japanese ancestry. Others helped Japanese Americans to purchase goods or market their boycotted crops. Individually they befriended Japanese Americans with everyday acts of good will.

While these principled Americans acted without seeking thanks or recognition, it is time that we honor their selflessness. These ordinary folk demonstrated a true American spirit during extraordinary times. In our increasingly diverse society, they inspire faith and hope for children and adults alike. We are proud to take this opportunity to honor these unheralded community heroes.

Please join us on Sunday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. at The History Museum of Hood River County as we recognize these “Heroes Unheralded” who stepped forward on behalf of Japanese Americans during those challenging times. Although all have since died, we will posthumously honor those whose descendants are able to join us on that day.

Notable author Linda Tamura will preside over the program for this day of celebration. She will be sharing stories related to her recent book, “Nisei Soldiers Break Their Silence” as well as presenting history related to our “unheralded heroes.”

For more information related to this and all events and programs at The History Museum of Hood River County, contact Museum Coordinator Connie Nice at or 541-386-6772.

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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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