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I had Sue and I brought this gentleman Hiro Takasugawa. He’s amazing. He’s a 442 vet. Anyway, we're walking into the court house where the meeting was going to take place and we crossed paths with this World War One vet. Let's see if I remember his name, Bernasconi. Anyway, he stopped in his track and he looked at Hiro and he said, "I came here for the American Legion to fight this. I didn't know you fought on the same side." It was a very powerful moment. But then we went in and then we had the little community meetings with the park service presenting the proposal and Hiro just, just won everybody's hearts. And we told the people [women] that were there, "Go home and tell their husbands." The husbands, some of them all worked for DWP (Department of Water and Power), the biggest employer up there, and DWP was opposed. "And so go, go tell them what you heard." They think that they're all Japanese, you know, and that they are all war, you know whatever, espionage and whatever. You know, they have all these rumors. Anyway, this brave man, Keith Bright, lead the effort, you know, at his political peril to get the county approval for going forward. But it was Hiro, I think, that just, as I just say just sort of touched everybody's heart, you know. He was a school teacher at Trade Tech, so he has a good, excellent, communications style but it's 442 that have the story. He told the story. So anyway, now we're going off to Congress.

Date: July 17, 2013
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Sean Hamamoto
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum; Japanese American Bar Association

Inyo County manzanar national historic site politics

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