Honouliuli Illuminates Dark Past

On Feb. 24, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation to make the former 160-acre Honouliuli Internment Camp in West Oahu a national monument. Present in the Oval Office during the signing were Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii president/executive director Carole Hayashino and volunteer Jane Kurahara.

The movement started last year, when the National Park Service held community meetings throughout the state. Shortly thereafter, Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell received more than 6,000 signatures supporting the effort to include Honouliuli in the national park system.

“Witnessing President Obama sign the declaration to establish the Honouliuli National Monument inspires me,” stated Hayashino. “I am inspired by the voices of the Japanese-American internees, inspired by the dedicated work of community volunteers, inspired by the overwhelming support from the community and inspired to know that Honouliuli will never be forgotten.”

Honouliuli opened March 1, 1943, and was the largest World War II internment and prisoner-of-war camp in the state. During its existence, it housed more than 2,300 Japanese-Americans from Hawaii.

“The Honouliuli camp is a reminder of a dark time in our nation’s history, but it also serves to educate future generations about the importance of standing up during times of conflict to protect civil rights,” stated U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in a release.