One of my favorite things about D.C. is not all the major historical sites and monuments there, but the little-known memorials that you find peppered all over the city.  You can be coming out of a drug store and wander into a statue dedicated to some group or event or person you've always head about but never knew was honored in such a way.  I've lived here nearly twenty years and still find myself surprised by what was there that I didn't know about before.

I've wandered around the block near Union Station hundreds of times, but never really managed to walk through this before: the National Japanese American Memorial. I took a few minutes to stop and drink in the peace that's in this little corner of the block. It seemed rather fitting because just that morning, I had been reading about the petition to stop the FAA from blocking access to one of the internment camps.  

The Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II honors those Japanese Americans who endured humiliation and rose above adversity to serve their country during one of this nation's great trials. This National Park Service site stands at the intersection of Louisiana Avenue, New Jersey Avenue and D Street, NW in Washington, D.C.

The sculpture is symbolic not only of the Japanese American experience, but of the extrication of anyone from deeply painful and restrictive circumstances. It reminds us of the battles we've fought to overcome our ignorance and prejudice and the meaning of an integrated culture, once pained and torn, now healed and unified. Finally, the monument presents the Japanese American experience as a symbol for all peoples.
The Memorial honors those members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd RCT, MIS and other units who fought with conspicuous bravery and the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice are engraved on several of the panels. In addition, the Memorial honors those who experienced dislocation and were held in the "relocation" camps during the period 1942-1945.

Several panels are devoted to quotations from patriotic Japanese Americans and others on the importance of the Japanese American struggle for equality and redress as well as honoring those who continue to seek justice and hold the Japanese American experience as an example of triumph over adversity and reminder of dark days which must never be repeated.