Chehalis' role in internment is commemorated 75 years later

75 years ago, the U.S. governments shipped dozens of Japanese Americans from Southwest Washington to an internment camp. There's now an effort to keep history alive.

Irene Yamasaki was too young to remember what happened at the Chehalis Train Depot 75 years ago, but she’s returning to the station today to honor her family.

“I think it’s important that a representative of my family is at the dedication,” Yamasaki said.

Yamasaki was 18-months old when the U.S. government removed her Lewis County family from their home in Adna, Wash., and sent them on a train to Tule Lake, Calif.

The date was June 2, 1942.

Related: Prisoners in Their Own Land 

She was one of 86 Japanese-Americans from southwest Washington sent to an internment camp. They departed from the depot.

During World War II, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were ordered out of their homes and sent to camps.

The depot in Chehalis now houses the Lewis County Historical Museum, and Saturday the museum is opening a new exhibit on the role the depot played.

Photos: Lewis County Historical Museum

“They were contributing members of society, it was very sad when they left,” museum interim director Ted Livermore said.

Livermore said museum volunteers wanted to honor the residents and to make sure their story was told.

“We want to keep the memory alive because it’s all part of our history,” Livermore said. “It’s part of our culture, so that we don’t repeat history.”

The exhibit will be dedicated Saturday morning at 11 a.m. at the Chehalis Historical Museum at 599 NW Front St., Chehalis, WA, 98532.

© 2017 KING-TV


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