I feel compelled to respond to Bill Watters' letter of April 7 regarding Japanese internment during World War II. First, he seemed to have missed his history lessons as many of these internees were U.S. citizens. Second, if their "spartan" camps provided "medical and social" needs, it is because the internees had to build them from scratch. Third, upon their return they were not compensated. Most lost their homes (forced to sell before being forced to leave), their businesses, property and farms. I think Watters needs to visit Manzanar — a couple of hours' drive north on U.S. Highway 395 — and spend a few hours in its excellent museum and then tour the grounds. Look up at the guard tower, see the gates and visit the cemetery. It is a shameful period in American history. It is only made worse by people ignorant enough to believe that it was OK because "they returned," and somehow in some strange and convoluted way think that no human rights violations occurred.
I was one of the many children interned at Heart Mountain camp in September 1942. After being interned first at Santa Anita racetrack — yes, the horse racing track in Arcadia —-I was removed by train to Heart Mountain. I still remember the soldiers with fixed bayonets standing between each car to discourage prisoners from moving from car to car.