Japanese American Shares Experience in US Internment Camp

Japanese American, US Army Veteran, community leader, free provider of optometry services, award winner, highly regarded presenter, and man of many other accolades and awards, Dr. Roy Ebihara, visited Keystone High School history students and shared his experiences in a US Internment Camp in the 1940s.

Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Roosevelt signed an executive order to relocate all Americans of Japanese ancestry to concentration camps in the United States. Dr. Ebihara was 8 years old when his family was rushed into a patrol car in the middle of the night and taken to an internment camp states away from their home.

Ebihara shared his experiences in the camps, where barbed wire fences, armed guards, threats and actualized violence, and unsanitary living conditions surrounded him. He also discussed the struggles he faced growing up as a Japanese American in the 1940s and 1950s.

Ebihara did far more than share his experiences with students; he taught them an underlying message of forgiveness and acceptance.  Rather than lamenting his past and focusing his energy on resentment, Ebihara became a vital part of the community, teaching tolerance and engaging in humanitarian efforts.

Social studies teacher Mr. Schuster states, “The presentation was inspiring for our students as well as our staff.  I was very impressed with the underlying message of his visit and feel that it is exceptionally relevant in today’s society. My colleague Michelle Compton facilitated Ebihara’s visit to our school, and I would like to thank her for always finding new ways to help our students connect with history.”