[Panel 1 of the historical narrative at memorial entrance]:
On February 19, 1942, 73 days after the United States entered World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 which resulted in the removal of 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children from their homes in the western states and Hawaii.
Allowed only what they could carry, families were forced to abandon homes, friends, farms and businesses to live in ten remote relocation centers guarded by armed troops and surrounded by barbed wire fences. Some remained in the relocation centers until March 1946.
[Panel 2 of the historical narrative at memorial entrance]:
In addition, 4,500 were arrested by the Justice Department and held in internment camps such as at Santa Fe, New Mexico; 2,500 were also held at the family camp in Crystal City, Texas.
Answering the call to duty, young Japanese Americans entered into military service, joining many pre-war draftees. The 100th Infantry Battalion an 442nd Regimental Combat Team, fighting in Europe, became the most highly decorated Army unit for its size and length of service in American military history. Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service used their bilingual skills to help shorten the war in the Pacific and thus saved countless American lives. The 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion helped fortify the infrastructure essential for victory.
[Panel 3 of the historical narrative at memorial entrance]:
In 1983, almost forty years after the war ended, the federal Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that there had been no military necessity for the mass imprisonment of Japanese Americans and that a grave injustice had been done.
In 1988, President Ronald W. Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act which made an apology for the injustice, provided minimal compensation, and reaffirmed the nation's commitment to equal justice under the law for all Americans.