Memories of Pearl Harbor, Japanese internment camp

Dec 6, 2016

An aerial photo of the Amache Japanese internment camp in Granada, Colorado.
Credit Amache.org

The Amache Japanese Internment camp held over 7,000 Japanese – mostly American citizens – from 1942 to 1945 following the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that left over 2,400 dead and over 1,100 wounded.

Bob Fuchigami, who was 11 years old, at the time, recounts his experience living in the camp in a video on the Denver Post’s website, even though he and his seven siblings were American born citizens.

Fuchigami said being placed in the camp made the American people believe the Japanese were dangerous, but says they were anything but. He was 15 when he left the camp and later joined the US Navy.

“This is my country. I know no other country. I had never been in any other country,” Fuchimagi says in the video, adding that the Japanese-American citizens were loyal, patriotic citizens before, during and after being held in the internment camp.

The Granada camp, which is located a mile west of Granada on U.S. Highway 50, was the smallest of 10 such camps established in the U.S. following the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It is maintained by the Amache Preservation Society.

 

Two of five living survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack are also featured in the Denver Post article, including 94-year-old Don Stratton and 103-year-old Jim Downing, both Navy sailors stationed in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack.

Stratton did not come away from the attack unscathed. About 75 percent of his body was burned by fuel and exploding munitions and he spent almost a year recovering from his injuries and then re-enlisted and became a gunner’s mate on destroyer USS Stack.

Downing, after manning a gun on the USS Tennessee right after the Japanese attacked, later visited the seriously wounded and helped some who weren’t likely to make it, get notes to their loved ones.