In the summer of 2011 we were on a road trip through beautiful western Wyoming.
Jackson Hole. The Tetons. Yellowstone.
We drove back through the eastern part of the state so that we could stop for a day in Cheyenne for the rodeo.
I desperately needed an excuse to wear my white Stetson hat that I had purchased in Fort Worth a few years earlier at an NEA Representative Assembly in Dallas.
There are not many opportunities to wear a white Stetson hat in Chicago.
That part of the west is not called big sky country for nothing. Eastern Wyoming is mostly flat with a few outcroppings, one of which is Heart Mountain.
We drove along the interstate through miles of open prairie until we came upon markers for the Heart Mountain internment camp.
During World War II 14,000 Japanese, some American citizens and some non-citizen immigrants, were rounded up and moved to Heart Mountain, Wyoming based on FDR’s Executive Order 9066. Photos: Fred Klonsky
Today, February 19th, marks the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, when 150,000 Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent were rounded up, their property confiscated and forced into concentration camps scattered across the western states.
The only reason for their incarceration was their nationality and the nationality of their ancestors. They had committed no crimes.
Only 75 years ago.