One Korean War Veteran
Japanese American Living Legacy Project Documents
By Mimi Ko Cruz
.....Indeed, said Robert Wada (Poston 30-2-B), a 75-year-old Japanese-American Korean War veteran who, with his parents and eight older siblings, was forced to live in an Japanese internment camp during World War II. His oral history is being compiled by the JA Living Legacy Project.
“I’ve got a whole pile of history of my life just sitting in boxes,” Wada said.
“This is stuff that will eventually get all thrown in a box and forgotten when I’m gone, but this project is helping to preserve an important time in American history that Japanese Americans lived through. It’s educating future generations about what our generation went through.”
His own compelling story is full of details that grammar school history books don’t include, such as what it was like living in an internment camp as a young boy and, then, becoming a Marine and fighting for a country that harbored anti-Japanese sentiment.
For him, Dec. 7, 1941 — the day Pearl Harbor was bombed — is one of his most unforgettable days, Wada said, recalling the orders that rounded up 120,000 Japanese Americans, who were forced to abandon their properties and most of their belongings and live in internment camps.
“The internment camp where I spent three years, from age 11, was known as Poston, Arizona (block 30-2-B),” Wada said. “An entire family lived in one room that had one central light hanging from the ceiling. There were four rooms in tar-papered barracks over pine boards with holes in the floors. Each person was given a folding cot with a mattress bag that had to be filled with hay — the same kind you feed to horses…. The saddest moment for me in the camp was the day my father died when I was only 14.”
From Internment, to Korea, to Solitude by Robert M. Wada.
CreateSpace, June 2010. Paperback, 199 pages.
ISBN-13: 9781439258286 ISBN: 1439258287
In his moving memoir, we are carried into the world of WWII Japanese-American internment camps, discrimination, tragedies and as a young Marine fighting for his country in the Korean War. This is a story about struggle and loss of hope, followed by new purpose and faith.