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BOISE — Gov. Brad Little has declared Wednesday, Feb. 19, to be “A Day of Remembrance” in Idaho, “to commemorate the anniversary of the internment and as a time to reflect on the need for tolerance, especially in times of national emergency and war.”

The date marks 78 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1942 signed Executive Order 9066, ordering 120,000 civilians of Japanese descent, two-thirds of them American citizens, to be imprisoned in incarceration camps, including the Minidoka or “Hunt” camp in Jerome County, Idaho.

Little issued a formal proclamation Tuesday, noting that almost 10,000 people were imprisoned in the Minidoka camp, now the Minidoka National Historical Site; and nearly 1,000 Japanese-American men from the camp volunteered and fought in the U.S. Army in World War II, becoming part one of the U.S. military’s most highly decorated units. Many of those who were forcibly taken from their homes on the West Coast and imprisoned in Idaho eventually settled in the Boise Valley after the war.

“Japanese Americans in our communities have continued to contribute to our society and have distinguished themselves in all walks of life,” the governor’s proclamation said.

On Wednesday, there will be a sold-out special screening of the new National Park Service documentary “Minidoka: An American Concentration Camp,” at the Idaho State Museum in Boise, followed by a panel discussion with Minidoka survivors.

The Idaho State Museum is also featuring a traveling exhibition through April 5 that tells the story of the tens of thousands of Japanese Americans who were incarcerated by the federal government during World War II. The exhibit combines material from the Smithsonian Institution with Idaho-specific artifacts from the Minidoka National Historical Site near Jerome and an internment camp near Kooskia, the Lewiston Tribune reported.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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