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Comment: Never ever give up hope

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Never ever give up hope

After losing all material possessions, my mother endured the loss of her first born son at birth in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans. The medical conditions were extremely substandard and ill-equipped, and the doctor arrived over an hour late, too late to save the baby which I learned via the papers made available after the
Freedom of Information Act passed. The entire family including my mother’s 7 siblings was devastated as the baby was the first of the third Sansei generation. What Executive Order 9066 did not take away from any of them was the will to endure and overcome adversity.

There were two factions of people in the camps. Those who accepted their fate with resignation and those who rebelled and refused to sign loyalty pledges. I can see today the importance and value in doing both, ie the former by their inner strength and courage with some demonstrating their loyalty by joining the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, highly decorated for their efforts in Europe during WWII; the latter by their attempt to restore honor and justice. Not one to make waves, my mother subsequently lived with a joie de vivre acquiring so many talents, it would take a long manuscript to describe them. William Hohri, who became a personal friend and light in my life, became a hero for his personal sacrifices in leading the class action law suit against the government which encouraged the official signed government apology to internees. Both of these people would tell you to discard the words defeat and hopelessness from your vocabulary. My mother would tell you to embrace your loved ones and surround yourself with enjoyable activities, hobbies and friends enjoying something you like doing on a daily basis. She would say, ‘cultivate your own garden, no one else is going to do that for you.’ Hohri would tell you to fight for what you believe in always putting your best foot forward. I’m still trying to follow in their footsteps.