WWII Internees Finally Get Degrees

Ceremony honors Japanese-American students forced into camps
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2009 1:06 PM CST
WWII Internees Finally Get Degrees
Aiko "Grace" Obata Amemiya, left, laughs with Taye Oda while holding up a UC Berkeley shirt after speaking to the University of California Board of Regents in San Francisco.   (AP Photo)

UC Berkeley righted a wrong yesterday, issuing honorary degrees to Japanese-American students whose studies were cut short by confinement in World War II internment camps. Surviving students, now in their 80s or older, opted for celebration over recrimination. “There is a Japanese saying, 'shikata ga nai,' which means, 'It can't be helped,'" one new graduate told the Oakland Tribune. “Our parents knew it had to happen and they made the best of it.”

“It's a wonderful feeling after all of these years," another new grad who received her degree in an earlier ceremony told CBS. Said another, who turned 90 the day she received her degree: "It's been a long time."
(More World War II stories.)

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