Pelosi Statement on National Day of Remembrance

February 19, 2007
Press Release
Washington, D.C. -- The following statement by Speaker Pelosi was submitted to the Congressional Record today in support of H.Res 122, recognizing a National Day of Remembrance on the 65th Anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066.  In 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which put into motion the internment of Japanese Americans, German Americans, and Italian Americans during World War II:

'To live up to the principles on which this great nation was founded, we must stand for freedom for all Americans, in wartime and in times of peace.

'On February 19, 1942, Executive Order 9066 was signed, ushering in one of the darkest periods in our nation's history.  During World War II, more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese descent were removed from their homes and placed in internment camps.  Under baseless fears of Japanese Americans disloyalty, families were ripped apart and entire communities uprooted.

'History has shown that this action, as well as restrictions on Americans of German and Italian ancestry, was not only wrong, but also indefensible.  The National Day of Remembrance is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of our past as we work for a better future.  I join Representatives Honda, Becerra, Wu, Scott, Abercrombie, Matsui, Bordallo, Hirono, and many of our colleagues for a National Day of Remembrance on February 19.

'In these difficult times of war, as we face the threat of terrorism, the lessons of that dark chapter are especially relevant today.  As we protect and defend the American people, we must protect and defend the Constitution and the civil liberties that define our democracy.

'I join my colleagues, especially the Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who fight for justice and equality every day, to ensure that history is never repeated again.'