Garden of Remembrance at San Francisco State University --- #1 of 6
San Francisco, California
Designed and created by Ruth Asawa, Isao Ogura, and Shigeru Namba.
Ruth Asawa is a California artist whose work I admire a great deal, and during the past few months I've been visiting her public artworks that are on display in the San Francisco area. In this particular piece, she worked closely with two garden designers.
The Garden of Remembrance is a memorial to the Japanese immigrants and Japanese-American citizens who were interned in camps during World War II. When the internment order was issued, 19 students at San Francisco State were ordered to interrupt their studies, to take only what they could carry, and to report for internment.
Even though many of these people were American citizens, they were treated as enemy aliens, which is something that I find deeply shameful.
When this memorial was dedicated in 2002, the President of San Francisco State University presided at a ceremony that featured visitors from Osaka, one of San Francisco's Sister Cities, as well as several of the alumni who were interned and their families.
As President Corrigan said: 'Today is the second occasion on which this university has honored these 19 former students. Four years ago [in 1998], we sought them out and invited them to join us at commencement, to sit on the commencement stage and be recognized individually as honored alumni. As I said that day, "in a spirit of sorrow for the past, determination that it shall not be repeated, and recommitment to our highest values," we welcomed them back into the university community, acknowledging their permanent place in this university's history. The Garden of Remembrance now makes that figurative "place" a beautiful physical reality, to be shared and enjoyed by generations to come.'