Eagle Harbor is the most visited harbor on Bainbridge Island, home to many nice marinas, a waterfront park and public boat dock, and easy walking access to many shops, restaurants, and museums. Cathleen and I have visited many times, but only recently discovered the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.
Owned by the National Park Service and managed by the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, the memorial honors the 227 men, women, and children forcibly removed from their Bainbridge Island homes and sent to internment camps in California and Idaho during WWII, after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Two-thirds of them were U.S. citizens. The Japanese Americans on Bainbridge Island were the first group of internees taken from their West Coast homes. Their friends and neighbors on Bainbridge Island defended them, stood beside them, and ultimately welcomed them back home after they were released.
The memorial wall, displaying the names and pictures of those taken, is built on the path walked by the internees on the way to the waiting ferries at the historic Eagledale ferry dock site. While the dock no longer exists, the memorial wall, and interpretive signs and photos vividly portray the solemn experiences that occurred there. The motto and mission of the memorial is Nidoto Nai Yoni, translated as “Let it Not Happen Again.”
The memorial is open year-round and located on the south shore of Eagle Harbor, adjacent to Pritchard Park. To access the memorial from the water, land your dinghy or kayak on the sandy beach of Pritchard Park and take the short path to the memorial. It is free to visit.
For additional information on this memorial and other Bainbridge Island history, visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, a short walk into town from the Waterfront Park and City Dock.
Dale and Cathleen Blackburn
Waggoner Field Correspondents