My mother was born in Sacramento, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, and my father grew up in San Francisco. They met and married in Los Angeles, where I was born in 1937, and where we lived happily until December 7, 1941.
When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, life changed for our family and thousands of other families like us. Suddenly we were presumed to be the enemy. We were questioned, followed, suspected, and accused of being spies or saboteurs simply because of our ancestry. The government that was supposed to protect us against mob rule suddenly had become the mob. It is hard to describe a more gripping, more pervasive sense of terror.
Just a few weeks after my 5th birthday, the military forcibly removed us from our home. Two soldiers with bayonets marched upon our driveway on Garnet Street, pounded on the front door, and demanded we vacate immediately. We took only what we could carry. My younger brother and I both held a suitcase; my mother, tears streaming down her face, held my baby sister with one arm and a duffle bag with another. We lost our home, our car, my father’s book collection.
I will never forget that day.
George Takei’s full article is here, and it’s one everyone should take to heart.