Former internment camp gets formal landmark designation |

Former internment camp gets formal landmark designation

GRANADA – A weekend ceremony is planned at Camp Amache, a site on the plains of southeastern Colorado where more than 10,000 people of Japanese ancestry were interned during World War II.The camp, 17 miles east of Lamar, included 550 buildings on 640 acres. Nothing is left but the concrete foundations of the barracks. A camp cemetery includes a memorial near the graves of 11 children who died in Camp Amache.On Saturday, the site be formally dedicated as a National Historic Landmark by Ken Snyder, regional superintendent of the National Park Service.”This is an important day for all – it’s a culmination of more than 20 years of work from the Japanese-American community in Denver and the town of Granada,” said Derek Okubo, the son of an Amache detainee. “It’s a story I hope will continue the healing process across racial and generational lines. Our desire is that we all can learn from this experience to avoid similar mistakes in the future.”On Feb. 19, 1942, less than three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry – most of them U.S. citizens. More than half were children.Okubo’s late father, Henry, and other Americans were imprisoned at the camp between spring 1942 and January 1946. At one point, it held nearly 7,600 people – the 10th-largest community in Colorado.”My parents, their families and thousands of other innocent Japanese-Americans were patriots during World War II and after,” Okubo said. “Despite being stripped of their rights, homes and businesses, thousands of them defined themselves by not allowing this injustice to stop them from succeeding in this country.”The site, officially called the Granada Relocation Center, became known as Camp Amache for the daughter of a Cheyenne Indian chief.

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