Pearl Harbor

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Canadian spent the war trying to serve

It was 1939 and Canada had declared war. Minoru Yatabe remembers Latin class at that moment. His teacher, Ms. Crawford, gathered the boys in her class. She explained she would be forced to return to Glasgow, Scotland, to take care of her elderly parents.

“I know many of you boys are going to come overseas in uniform,” she had said, “so if you ever get to Glasgow, come and see me.”

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Canadian recalls life as an ‘enemy alien’

Tad Oyagi remembers the Sunday morning, 74 years ago, when his life changed. “I was having a Coke with my friends,” he said. “I even remember the song they were playing on the radio, ‘The Smoke Went up the Chimney Just the Same.’” On Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese Imperial aircraft attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Canada was already at war as an ally of Great Britain against Nazi Germany. Fearing sympathy for the Japanese cause inside Canada, the federal government declared all Japanese Canadians enemy aliens. Almost 22,000 Japanese, most of them Canadian citizens, had their belongings confiscated and were forcibly removed from their homes.