(KCPW News) Utah’s Japanese-American veterans who fought in World War II were honored at the State Capitol this morning. Governor Gary Herbert got emotional when recalling the discrimination thousands of Japanese-Americans faced when they were sent to the Topaz internment camp near Delta, Utah.
“Utah’s history will forever be scarred because of its association with this ugly and unjust policy,” he said.
Kayo Hayakawa, a Salt Lake City resident who was drafted in 1944, says his wife was held in Topaz for several months.
Today was an emotional day for him, and one he says he will never forget.
“To be able to see the governor, talk to him, shake his hand, it’s something that you didn’t expect,” he told KCPW. “It was great that the governor could do such a thing for a small group like us. It’s a memory that lasts the rest of our lives.
Each veteran was honored individually by the Governor and given a commemorative coin. They served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service, which received the Congressional Gold Medal earlier this month.