SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown issued the following proclamation on Sunday.
Seventy years ago, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, an act that set in motion the forced evacuation and internment of many thousands of United States citizens and legal immigrants because of their Japanese ancestry.
Despite their internment, Japanese Americans remained loyal throughout the Second World War and served with distinction in famous units like the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. It is a testament to the patriotism of Japanese Americans that they gave their lives for American ideals even as they themselves were being deprived of their rights as Americans.
While we can never repay them for the sacrifices they made and the injustices suffered, we can take this opportunity to reflect on the fundamental principle that even in the midst of war, our Bill of Rights remains our guide to a free and open society.
On this day, Feb. 19, I ask that all Californians join me in solemn remembrance of the issuance of Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, as well as the rescission order of President Gerald R. Ford issued on Feb. 19, 1976.
We should also remember the life of Gordon Hirabayashi, a courageous leader who persevered until the federal government officially recognized that the internment of Japanese Americans was unjustified and inconsistent with our values and our Constitution.
Now therefore I, Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim Feb. 19, 2012 as “A Day of Remembrance: Japanese American Evacuation.”