WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation honored the dedication of Honouliuli National Monument, which permanently protects a site where Japanese American citizens, resident immigrants, and prisoners of war were held captive during World War II.
“The stories of the more than 1,000 innocent Hawaii civilians detained at Honouliuli during World War II cannot be forgotten, and as a national monument, the Honouliuli Internment Site will be an ever-present memorial of an important but often forgotten part of our nation’s history,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Preserving the site has long been a priority for our Hawaii delegation -- from Senators Inouye and Akaka to our current delegation—but our work is not yet done. My hope is that Honouliuli will be preserved in a way that visitors will get a sense of what this dark period of our country’s history was like and acknowledge that it should never be repeated. I want to thank Secretary Jewell for her participation in today’s dedication. Over the coming weeks and months, I will continue to work closely with the administration, state and local leaders as well as my delegation colleagues to ensure necessary federal resources are delivered for this important project.”
“The Honouliuli Internment Camp symbolizes a dark time in our history when thousands of Japanese Americans in Hawai‘i and across our country faced discrimination and were forced into internment camps. It is also a reminder of the strength, resilience, and remarkable collective spirit the internees showed in the face of racism and brutal persecution,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “Our deep gratitude goes to the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, the Japanese American Citizens League, Secretary Jewell, our entire Hawai‘i Congressional Delegation – past and present – and many, many others who fought for years to enable us to share this important part of our history with the world.”
“Honouliuli was a central piece of the brutal and discriminatory internment system created during World War II; today, the structure remains as a memorial that will educate future generations about the precariousness of freedom and civil liberties in wartime,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “I am pleased to join the entire Hawaii delegation in celebrating this designation, and in saying mahalo to President Obama and Secretary of the Interior Jewell for recognizing the historic nature of Honouliuli and for making Hawaii a priority.”
“On behalf of Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, it is my pleasure to send a warm aloha to President Obama, Secretary Jewell of the Department of the Interior, Director Jervis of the National Park Service, Deputy Director O’Dell of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, President Hayashino of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, the Monsanto Company, President Lassner of the University of Hawaii and all those who helped rediscover and designate Honouliuli as a national monument,” said Congressman Mark Takai. “We are gathered here today in honor of the dedication ceremony of this important piece of history, whose legacy will be preserved and shared with future generations.”
This morning, Senators Hirono and Schatz will join Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Governor David Ige, and other state and community leaders in a dedication ceremony at the Honouliuli Gulch. Following the dedication ceremony, members of the delegation will also attend a reception at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii.
Honouliuli Internment Site was designated as a national monument in February after years of hard work and collaborative efforts by the public and private community partners including the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and Honolulu Japanese American Citizens League.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye included a provision in the Interior Appropriations bill in 2009, requesting a National Parks Service special resource study. A stand-alone bill, (S. 871) the Honouliuli Internment Camp Special Resources Study Act of 2009, was also introduced by Senator Inouye in the 111th Congress, with then-Congresswoman Hirono introducing the companion bill (H.R. 2079) in the House of Representatives. Senator Daniel Akaka and Congressman Neil Abercrombie were cosponsors of the respective the bills.
The monument will help tell the story of the internment camp’s impact on the Japanese American community and the injustices that occurred there. The Honouliuli Internment Site was the largest and longest-used confinement site for Japanese and European Americans and resident immigrants in Hawaii.