First, permit us to thank the City of Watsonville, the many Watsonville organizations and individual citizens, and the Watsonville-Santa Cruz Chapter of the National Japanese American Citizens League (W-SC JACL) for their support of this huge undertaking—the re-enactment of the evacuation of those of Japanese ancestry from Watsonville to the Salinas Assembly Center (Salinas Rodeo Grounds) on the 60th anniversary of Exclusion Order #16 of April 27, 1942.
The W-SC JACL remains the only JACL chapter in the nation to re-enact this forced removal. It was made possible by those dedicated in telling the story of a tragic assault upon an innocent minority in this country and the Constitution with its Bill of Rights.
“Liberty Lost … Lessons in Loyalty” re-lives the forced eviction of 1,160 persons of Japanese ancestry (most are US citizens) without cause or protection of the Constitution with its Bill of Rights from Santa Cruz County to the Salinas Assembly Center (California Rodeo Grounds) and, later, to the Poston internment camp in Arizona.
“Liberty Lost … Lessons in Loyalty” honors the gallant heroism of our local young men who had volunteered for the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service of the United States Army from behind barbed wire.
“Liberty Lost … Lessons in Loyalty” pays tribute to the men, women, and organizations of our community who befriended, supported, and welcomed us back.
The mistakes of liberty lost, inflicted upon an innocent people, must never be repeated. It is our fervent hope that the lessons in loyalty learned will make each of us a “Better American in a Greater America” — the national goal of the JACL.
We are grateful to our community of friends, participants, and supporters for their incredible commitment and for their devotion in breathing life into this project that had been nearly two years in the making.
Thank you, committee members, sponsors, friends, teachers, and students for supporting this historic event.
Mas and Marcia Hashimoto
Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL