History-filled 9th grade field trip
60 RHS freshmen take the local transit to downtown Seattle to visit the Nisei Veteran's Center.
December 4, 2018
The 15th of November was the day 60 lucky freshmen got to go on a field trip to the Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Center (NVC) in the International District of Seattle. This
building is a big part of Seattle-based Japanese-American history from the time of World War II and it contains a lot of interesting information about that time period.
The building the memorial center is in was a Japanese-American community center since the 1950’s, but in 2013 the NVC Foundation, in collaboration with the Wing Luke Museum,
redesigned the building’s halls to become more of a museum. This redesign has created a space that many people can go to learn about people, mostly from Washington state, who lived through the experience of internment.
During this renovation, the NVC Foundation created the mission statement “ Preserve and honor the Japanese American legacies and to provide community programs that meet the
educational, cultural and social needs of the broader community.” This mission statement has been the basis of the museum as they designed what would be included and how they would
teach others of their history.
The tour that the freshmen took included information about the four main rooms. Each room was dedicated to a specific part of Japanese-American history.
They also got to listen to a speech from a woman who survived internment. When she was around 15, she was sent to live in an internment camp. She recounted her experience before the group of 60 was split into three groups and each group went to different parts of the museum.
The room that the freshmen sat in while listening to the speech was the first room with important information. The first room was the area where everyone learned about Japanese-American lives before the war. Everyone learned how much Japanese-Americans were discriminated against. They also learned what some of these people did to escape prejudice and have fun, which was an all-Japanese baseball team.
The second room was about what Japanese-Americans did in the camp. The biggest activities that some camps participated in were baseball and ice skating (in the colder
camps). The other thing that was shown was a suitcase that one of survivors had brought. It was so small it would have fit only a few clothing items with really not much space for
The third room that everyone saw was a room showing the lives and giving the stories of numerous men and women who had fought in World War II that were interned. This room
showed how hard the Japanese-American members of the military worked. The unit that all of these people fought in was the 442nd Infantry Regiment. This regiment is the most highly-decorated
unit in military history considering its size and length of service.
The fourth room had framed pictures of many Washington-based Japanese-Americans who fought and were killed in World War II. The room also showed a few medals that the 442nd
infantry had won. The walls of this room also gave more background history about Japanese-American participation in the war.
The last and possibly most important part of the museum was the memorial wall that sat just outside of the museum. The wall has just under 3,500 bricks with the names of both
Japanese-American war veterans and Japanese-Americans who lived in the internment camps. Two-thirds of the bricks have the names of men and women who lived in one of the ten
camps. The other third is represented by people who served in one of the many wars with 67 of the bricks in-scripted with the names of veterans who were killed in action and 11 of the bricks
with the names of people who are still serving.
Sitting in a newly-made wooden box, there is a stack of paper that everyone is welcome to put onto the bricks and use a crayon to color over it, leaving white space that outlines the names
on the bricks. This is a good way to preserve a memory of the NVC and all the good that the museum does.
The Nisei Veterans Committee Memorial Center is a great place to attend to learn more about Japanese-American internment and the involvement of these citizens in World War II.
For more information about the Center go to the links below:
Memorial center website: https://www.nvcfoundation.org/
More info about the history about the center: https://www.nvcfoundation.org/about-us/
To donate to the center: https://www.nvcfoundation.org/about-us/donations/donate-nvc/
Direction and how to further contact the center: https://www.nvcfoundation.org/contact/
More information about the brick on the memorial wall: http://www.nvcfmemorialwall.org/