Amache Remembered

During the 1970s the Amache Historical Society, a group comprised of former Amache evacuees, began the effort to erect a memorial at Amache. With the help of Denver's Central Optimist Club enough money was raised to build the memorial in the early 1980s. Progress to build the monument came to an abrupt halt when ex-evacuees began a heated debate with the Granada Town Council. The ex-evacuees wanted the following message on the memorial:

This was the site of a mile-square camp built by the U.S. Government for the detention of 10,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, mostly Americans, who were forcibly brought to Amache in 1942 from California by armed U.S. troops. The camp was surrounded by barbed wire fences with guard towers manned by armed troops with searchlights, and detainees were treated as prisoners of the U.S. Not one of the persons detained for up to three and a half years was charged with a crime or even with doing anything that might be harmful to the national security.

In 1983, the U.S. Government Commission of Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians found that there was no military necessity for the internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during World War II and called their uprooting "a grave injustice" fueled by war hysteria and racism. Despite the grave injustice, hundreds of young men volunteered from Amache for combat with the 442nd Infantry Regiment and 31 were killed in action while their parents were still confined here.

Camps such as Amache were officially referred to as war relocation centers. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, five years before he authorized the creation of Amache, referred to such camps as concentration camps in a secret memo he sent to the chief of naval operations. The inmates referred to the camp as a jail, a stockade, a concentration camp, and even prison-of-war camp.

If Amache [was] resurrected today and you were suddenly rounded up by armed soldiers and confined here for no other reason than your ethnicity, what would you call Amache (quoted in Lurie 1990: 145-146)?

The Granada Town Council did not agree with the message the Amache Historical Society Monument Committee proposed to place on the memorial. After both sides refused to yield for many months an agreement was finally reached. The memorial which stands at Amache today now reads:

AMACHE REMEMBERED - - Dedicated to the 31 patriotic Japanese-Americans who volunteered from Amache and dutifully gave their lives in World War II, to the approximately 7000 persons who were relocated at Amache and to the 120 who died during this period of relocation.

Direct Edit