Memorial being built at Fresno Fairgrounds

FRESNO, Calif.

Members of the Japanese American Citizens League broke ground on the process of rebuilding the 'Fresno Assembly Center Memorial.'

It was here in 1942 where Fresno county Japanese Americans were held and later sent to internment camps across the country.

Saburo Yamada explained that his family reluctantly came here to be sent away, "In the Assembly Center right here, to begin with."

His entire family would be held in camps for more than four years ordered there by President Franklin Roosevelt, "We didn't know what to expect, really. We didn't know where we were going to begin with."

More than 5,000 central valley Japanese Americans were forced from their homes and shipped off to the camps. Their journey began at the Fresno fairgrounds says Paul Saito, "We were given two weeks' notice to, to get out." He too experienced internment.

Saito believes this new memorial will better tell the story, especially to young people, "I think this is important as far as history goes to have something here that they can come and see.

Story boards and other things here, to see what it was like to come here and learn what was really happening in World War Two."

Design and construction by a volunteer team is hard at work with donated funds. They are determined to meet their fall deadline and raise additional money by selling memorial bricks to be placed here.

In October when the Big Fresno Fair opens, the new Fresno Assembly Center Memorial will open too, ready to offer much needed shade and a taste of history you may not know about.

For more about the Fresno Assembly Center Memorial Project or to make a donation to the call:
Travis Nishi 559-281-6797 or Deborah Ikeda 559-917-1427

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