Former President George H.W. Bush with future Florida congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.
WASHINGTON — Asian Pacific American members of Congress were among those eulogizing former President George H.W. Bush, who died on Nov. 30 at the age of 94.
In 1990, Bush issued Presidential Proclamation 6130, designating May 1990 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Previously, Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Bush had designated a week in May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Week.
Public Law 102-42 was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by Bush in 1991, proclaiming May 1991 and May 1992 as Asian Pacific American Heritage Months. In 1992, Congress passed Public Law 102-450, which permanently designated May of each year as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, signed by Reagan, Japanese Americans who had been incarcerated during World War II began receiving $20,000 redress payments, along with a formal letter of apology signed by Bush, in 1990. The letter reads:
“A monetary sum and words alone cannot restore lost years or erase painful memories; neither can they fully convey our nation’s resolve to rectify injustice and to uphold the rights of individuals. We can never fully right the wrongs of the past. But we can take a clear stand for justice and recognize that serious injustices were done to Japanese Americans during World War II.
“In enacting a law calling for restitution and offering a sincere apology, your fellow Americans have, in a very real sense, renewed their traditional commitment to the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice. You and your family have our best wishes for the future.”