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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Two Boy Scouts

Out of a shameful part of our United States history came a wonderful story of two Boy Scouts that, in their small ways, changed history.

You can see and hear it here.

We just commemorated the 77th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japanese armed forces, which resulted in the entry of our country into World War II.

But what also happened is that thousands of United States citizens of Japanese descent were rounded up and sent to interment camps all over the country.  One of these was a hastily constructed camp at Heart Mountain, near Cody, Wyoming.

One of the detainees was a young man by the name of Norman Mineta.  He had been, back in California before he became a civilian prisoner of war, a Cub Scout.  His parents had wanted to become United States citizens before the war, but had been prevented from doing so.

The young of this camp were sent to school within the camp and permitted various activities to keep them occupied.  One of these was the formation of a Boy Scout troop and Norman Mineta joined.  The troop tried to engage nearby Wyoming troops in their activities, but all the troops rejected their overtures.  These boys were the enemy, after all.

Or were they? 

Only one troop accepted the overtures of the Japanese interment camp's troop, and came to visit   In that troop was a young Boy Scout by the name of Alan Simpson.

Alan Simpson and Norman Mineta became good friends.  And the 12 year old Simpson, who returned to a warm home after his visit to the internment camp, realized an injustice was being done.

The two boys didn't see each other again for some 35 years.

When they met again, it was thousands of miles away, in Congress, where Senator Alan Simpson (Republican) made his second acquaintance with Congressman  Norman Mineta (Democrat).  Eventually, Mineta would join the Cabinets of two Presidents.  Their friendship has lasted to this day.

Simpson, now 87, gave one of the eulogies at the recent funeral of former President George H.W. Bush, under whom Mineta served as Secretary of Transportation.

An interesting story of non fiction.

As it is said, you can't make this stuff up.

4 comments:

  1. Strange how change meetings can lead to a friendship. Great story. Thanks for sharing it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I will enjoy reading more of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful story.

    One of my favorite actors, George Takei, was alsoi terred in one of the camps.

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  3. Interesting indeed. Truth really is sometimes stranger than fiction.

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  4. Wow. It's amazing how we meet with people over a lifetime.

    ReplyDelete

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