Eight local residents who were interned in WWII incarceration camps for Japanese Americans were honored in a flag-signing ceremony last weekend, an event organized by Carpinteria Mayor Wade Nomura. The survivors met at City Hall to sign a WWII era, 48-star American flag, and to share their stories with the public. 

The event is part of an effort to get all internees to sign a WWII era, 48-star, American flag that will be donated to the Japanese American Museum in San Jose on Fred Korematsu Day, Jan. 30. The flag signed at City Hall has made its way through most of the Western U.S. states and will soon head to Arkansas to visit for ceremonies at two internment camps. 

Nomura said he organized the signing to remember history and honor those who suffered. “My parents were interned in Poston, Arizona and they shared stories with me of life in camp and the challenges of fitting back into society after the war,” Nomura said. 

“They were never bitter about it but accepted it as something that just happened. Many of these survivors are now in their advanced ages and history of these times have not been well documented, which means unfortunately that much of that part of history will be lost when they are gone.” 

The nationwide initiative was organized by Judge Johnny Cepeda Gogo of Santa Clara County, who also attended the Carpinteria event. 

“We appreciate what Judge Gogo has done to retain much of this history with the Flag Project and also those that came out to sign the flag and place their names in history,” Nomura said. 

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