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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
TULE LAKE NWR: Pacific Southwest Regional Director's Remarks at World War II Valor In the Pacific Memorial Dedication
Region 8, July 16, 2009
The Tule Lake segregation center depicted here as a model was on display during the July 3rd dedication of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Tule lake was considered the harshest of all internment centers with poor conditions, stockades and heavy security in the form of barbed wire fencing and armed guards. Japanese Americans who protested government policy or questioned authority at other camps, were often sent to the Tule Lake camp. (photo: USFWS)
The Tule Lake segregation center depicted here as a model was on display during the July 3rd dedication of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument. Tule lake was considered the harshest of all internment centers with poor conditions, stockades and heavy security in the form of barbed wire fencing and armed guards. Japanese Americans who protested government policy or questioned authority at other camps, were often sent to the Tule Lake camp. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a
Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Service's Pacific Southwest Region said that,
Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Service's Pacific Southwest Region said that, "when people visit this monument, they will learn the past. But they will also learn that the past doesn’t have to be repeated. I believe the natural beauty, and the bounty of this land here, will show that we can learn form mistakes and recover from them. (photo: USFWS) - Photo Credit: n/a

Editor's Note: During World War II thousands of Japanese Americans were ordered to be detained at various internment centers in the Western United States.  One of those centers was in Northern California.  Part of the former interment camp's boundary lies within the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge as well as Lava Beds National Monument.  On July 3, 2009, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument was dedicated.  The new monument will be manged jointly by the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.   What follows are remarks given by Ron Cole, Manager of the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges and Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Pacific Southwest Regional Office.

Transcribed Remarks from Dedication Ceremony:

 

Ron Cole, Manager, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges

 

 

“Two of the portions of the Tule Lake unit are on National Wildlife Refuge lands: the peninsula behind also known as Castle Rock and Camp Tule Lake so therein lies our involvement. I want you all to know that this is very new to the Fish and Wildlife Service. 

 

“It is really going to be a pleasure to work with the [Tule Lake] Committee, to work with Dave Kruse [Superintendent of the Lava Beds National Monument]and his staff as we move forward with this new monument. 

 

“I used to be a biologist here about twenty-five years ago and, as such, I would walk to the top of the peninsula one or two times a year.  I had an opportunity to go out with a group of people this morning and we made that hike. I can tell you that that was 25 years ago when I did it. And 25 pounds ago, at least. But we made it. It was a beautiful morning – a great hike.  And I encourage all of you who have not had a chance to do that, to make that trek.

 

“It is my pleasure to introduce our Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Southwest Region which includes all of Nevada, and all of California and, all of that the Service is involved in those two states.  I had the chance to spend about 3 weeks in the regional office and I know how busy our Regional Director is. And he was able to take the time out to make the up here last night and I would like to introduce Mr. Ren Lohoefener.”

 

Ren Lohoefener, Director, Pacific Southwest Regional Office

 

“Thank you, Ron.  I think of you guys that made the hike this morning that are busy and not me, I was down there in a motel room.  I really want to thank the National Park Service, the community, and all the people who have put this together.  I am humbled to be here.

 

“I don’t have any history in this area – personal history – and to be before so many today that do – it is with great reverence to you folks that I am here today.  It’s an honor for the Fish and Wildlife Service to join the National Park Service in administrating this new national monument. 

 

“As Ron said, a portion of the monument is in the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  The Fish and Wildlife Service, like the Park Service, has a long history of caring for this nation’s resources.  I assure you we are going to be a good partner with this community, a good partner with the Park Service, and we’re going to do the very best job we can to care for this monument.

 

“On the way to the ceremony this morning, you drove by the signs that would direct you to part of the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

 

“These are some of the most important national wildlife refuges in the country.  In the fall and winter months, the land, the wetlands out there and the skies fill with millions of birds – eagles, swans, geese, ducks.

 

“It is my hope that in the 1940s the sounds and sights of these birds in the sky gave some comfort to the people that were interned here.

 

“More than 400 generations of people walked these lands both in good times and bad. Native Americans, of course, have a long history in this area and are culturally tied to the land.  Veterans of the First World War returned here, settled here, worked hard. They fed the nation, fed the country.

 

“And the history has had bad times.  Native Americans were forced on to a reservation.  And, of course, what brings us here today; thousands of Japanese Americans were, against there will, interned here.

 

“It is more important to remember the bad times than the good.  We need to learn from – and learn not to repeat past mistakes. Today we pay respect to the Japanese Americans who spent time here.  We reflect upon those whose jobs it was to guard the camp, and those in the community that had the camp placed here.


“This monument is especially important because it helps us remember and appreciate the magnitude of the sacrifices that were made during the course of a World War.   When people visit this monument, they will learn the past. But they will also learn that the past doesn’t have to be repeated.   I believe the natural beauty, and the bounty of this land here, will show that we can learn form mistakes and recover from them.

 

“This monument commemorates valor – the bravery and heroism that was demonstrated here day-after-day by the men, women and children who sacrificed their freedom here. 

 

“So again thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this.  We look forward to helping preserve this national monument.”

 

Contact Info: Matt Baun, 530-842-5763, matt_baun@fws.gov