California apologizes for internment of Japanese Americans

California apologizes for Japanese Internment

Two months after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the removal of persons considered a threat.

When Les Ouchita was 5 years old, he was one of them. He was sent to internment camps with his family, "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Dana Jacobson reports.

"I think about the people like my parents," said Ouchita. "They … suffered a lot more and my father, I think about the dreams he had for a very lucrative, successful career was very much shattered by the internment. He drank too much. He died at the early age of 59." 

Another camp survivor, Christine Omeda, said she was 4 years old when she was moved in May of 1942. She came down with pneumonia when she was interned and was separated from her family. 

"They took me in a van that was totally darkened. And the door would close and it'd be black," she said. "So it had a big impact on my memory."

In all, 120,000 Japanese Americans were put into internment camps. 

Survivors came to California's Capitol in Sacramento this week to hear legislators denounce what they always knew was wrong. 

"We will not stand for racist and paranoid policies that take away basic rights from any person," said Blanca Rubio, a member of the California State Assembly.

In a unanimous decision, state lawmakers voted to apologize for the federal government's internment program. 

"It's a nice thing that our country, they can still have the integrity and be able to apologize even if it took that long," said Ouchita.

The ten internment camps closed in 1945. The people in them were allowed to go home and once again, call America home. 

"I think about the good and the bad about the internment experience," Ouchida said. 

"Here our country has put us behind barbed wire, and then we still remained good citizens, pledged allegiance to our flag," he said.