A truly touching story at the end of graduation season this year—Don Miyada, 89, finally received his high school diploma from Newport Harbor High School this week. Miyada, an American citizen, was supposed to graduate along with his classmates 72 years ago but was forced to leave his home and vegetable farm after being assigned to a Japanese internment camp at the beginning of World War II. Along with approximately 110,000 other Japanese Americans who were wrongfully uprooted and abused by the Roosevelt administration, Miyada was labeled a security threat and enemy of the United States until he was released two years later.
Miyada was invited to participate in this year's graduation after Newport students heard of his story and believed he should fill the void of his high school diploma to join his bachelor’s and doctorate degrees in chemistry (he taught at University of California, Irvine after he was drafted to the US Army and served in Europe). It is impressive how these young students organized and adjusted their own program to celebrate someone who could have been easily overlooked or forgotten, particularly since our American history books rarely go into much detail of these heinous 'war relocation camps.'
As younger generations learn more about our collective histories—as well as discover the sheer amount of coverup, bias, and willful ignorance of much of our sugar-coated narratives—we can probably expect to see more justice served to those who suffered, unlawfully, while the mainstream community looked the other way and thrived. Our history is by no means set in stone. The more that history is analyzed and challenged, the more truth we can expect to surface and therefore actually contribute—and not only congratulate—our society today.