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Day of Remembrance at the Smithsonian

Teenagers in the Rohwer incarceration camp, Arkansas, around 1943

WASHINGTON — The Smithsonian Institution will observe the Day of Remembrance on Sunday, Feb. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West, National Museum of American History.

Feb. 19 marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, a document that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed in 1942, two months after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The order resulted in the imprisonment of 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese immigrants who were prohibited by law from becoming naturalized American citizens.

Some 45 years later, the U.S. Congress formally recognized that the rights of the Japanese American community had been violated and President Ronald Reagan signed HR 442, known as the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which provided an apology and restitution to the living Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during World War II.

The National Museum of American History will observe the anniversary of this moment in history with a new exhibition and a special program featuring:

• Videos by national competition awardees of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation’s Digital Storytelling Project.

• Objects out of storage and hands-on cart activities relating to the Japanese American experience.

• A conversation with incarceration camp survivors Shigeru “Shig” Yabu, Sam Mihara, Takashi “Tak” Hoshizaki, and Mary Murakami, moderated by award-winning filmmaker and author Dr. Karen Ishizuka.

• Book signings by authors Karen Ishizuka and Shig Yabu.

Program co-sponsors: Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, Japanese American Citizens League, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

The exhibition “Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans and World War II,” which opened Feb. 17 and runs until Feb. 19, 2018, includes the original Executive Order 9066 document on loan from the National Archives, along with personal objects such as the Medal of Honor awarded to Private First Class Joe M. Nishimoto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, objects from families who were incarcerated that reflect life in the camps, and many historical images.

The National Museum of American History is located on Constitution Avenue, NW between 12th and 14th streets in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

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