Sunday marks 1st annual Day of Remembrance for World War II Japanese internment camps

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Old twisted barded wire and other artifacts are still scattered around the Manzanar War Relocation Center south of Independence, CA, June 25, 2000 where 10,000 Japanese-American citizens and Japanese aliens were interned during World War II

Seventy years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the order that sent Japanese-Americans to internment camps for the duration of World War II. Now, L.A. County has voted to mark the occasion with its first official Day of Remembrance.

When the president’s order took effect, nearly 90 percent of people of Japanese descent lived in California — and more than half of the 120,000 who went to internment camps nationwide were U.S. citizens.

The L.A. County resolution says the internment of Japanese-Americans "deferred the American dream by inflicting a great human cost." The resolution also mentions the case of the late Fred Korematsu, who, after the war, challenged the constitutionality of the government’s actions.

During the war, authorities had arrested Korematsu and later convicted him for refusing to live in an internment camp.

A re-examination of his case in the early 1980s led a court to overturn his conviction, and that decision in turn influenced Congress to issue a formal apology and monetary redress to Japanese-Americans relocated to the camps.

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