Memories of hearing the verdict in Fred Korematsu's coram nobis case

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I went to Fred and as we stood up to hear the court's decision I said, “Fred, Fred, this is great.” He goes, “What happened?” I said, “Fred you won. You won your case.” And he looked at me like, and he was very blank-eyed, he said, “That's good, that's really good.” And I knew he didn't quite understand yet. People came up to him, slapped him on the back. The teams were hugging each other inside the bar area, Fred was just kinda standing there as people hugged him, just, he was there woodenly, he wasn't responding 'cause he didn't quite get it yet. And he even told us that. He just didn't get it.

And it was stunning to him after all these years, after all he went through. So then we went outside and we were thronged by Nisei. I had never seen so many Nisei cry at one place and time other than funerals maybe, but these were tears of joy and they were very demonstrative, they hugged Fred, they hugged all of us. They thanked us probably more than anything.

And we... it was funny, 'cause all the team—I, standing next to 'em, I said, “You know, we're thanking you. We would never be able to do this if it weren't for you, the sacrifices you went through, what you went through to allow us to get to this point. We feel it's an honor to get to pay you back.” And it was perhaps one of the best moments you could ever have in a lifetime.

Date: February 8, 2003
Location: Washington, US
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda, Margaret Chon
Contributed by: Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project.

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