INDEPENDENCE — Early in 1942, federal agents arrested Bill Nishimura’s father. Within weeks, he and his mother left their Lawndale farm for the Visalia area, believing that Japanese Americans east of Highway 99 would not have to relocate.

silent voicesBy August, however, the government ordered the Nishimuras into confinement at Poston Relocation Center on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Arizona. From there, Nishimura was sent to Tule Lake, Santa Fe, and Crystal City before his release in 1947.

Bill Nishimura
Bill Nishimura

His story is among those highlighted in “Silent Voices of World War II: When Sons of the Land of Enchantment Met Sons of the Land of the Rising Sun,” co-authored by Nancy Bartlit, whose years of residence and study in Los Alamos, N.M., as well as teaching and traveling in Japan, inspired her investigation of cultures and communication. She also served on the committee to mark the site of the Santa Fe Internment Camp.

They will present talks in the Manzanar Visitor Center on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m. (Bartlit) and 1:30 p.m. (Nishimura) and sign copies of the book in the Manzanar History Association bookstore. The programs are free and open to the public.

The annual Day of Remembrance observance commemorates the impact of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, which on Feb. 19, 1942 authorized the forced removal of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast.

The Manzanar Visitor Center features extensive exhibits, audio-visual programs, and a bookstore. It is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Manzanar is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence. For more information, call (760) 878-2194 or visit

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