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East Side Journal prints high school student Alice Grubner's essay on freedom on December 18, 1941.

HistoryLink.org Essay 2741 : Printer-Friendly Format

On December 18, 1941 -- slightly more than a week after the bombing of Pearl Harbor -- Kirkland’s East Side Journal prints a short essay from Alice Grubner, a local teenager. Grubner’s essay (reproduced here) calls for clear thinking at a time when the country is gripped in fear, and warns of overreaction against Japanese American citizens. The Journal’s editor, Bob Frank, prefaces the essay thusly: "The following article was written by Alice Grubner, student at Redmond high school. It is well written and contains a sentiment which is well worth remembering in these times."

What About Freedom Now?

With the passing of each year, the citizens of this country value and cherish more and more, the elusive quality of freedom. Freedom is like a bit of blue, seen through the scurrying of fleecy patches of cloud. Although the sky at this time is darkly overcast with ominous cloud-shapes, an occasional touch of blue reassures us that it is and will be there until the end of time.

From every corner of the globe, people came searching for a home where they could live there own lives as they saw fit to live them. They found a home in America. People of every color, every religious sect, each with his own set of ideals, searched for a country where their reason for living would not be questioned. They found in America just such a country.

These people worked together, not because they were forced to, but because they wanted to. Together, they built the framework of our government; a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

Today we are again fighting for freedom; just as hard as those men of history did. They fought the clinging hands of their old customs, and the ways of the land they came from. Today, we fight the domination of the world by one man, whose subjects have never had the freedom that is our blessing.

Hitler is deeply condemned by people of this country for his persecution of the Jewish race. Surely, our life, based on freedom of speech and though, will raise our people above such an attitude in regard to the Japanese people, who, as a whole, are proving to be as good Americans as the majority of the white-skinned Americans. Remember, there are really very few who can truly be called Americans, and like our ancestors, the parents of today’s Japanese citizens came from their homeland in search of the freedom to be had here. Until a Japanese man, woman, girl, or boy is definitely proven guilty of treason, they should be given all the consideration that our Constitution states is due to any citizen of the United States.

Sources:
The East Side Journal, December 18, 1941, p. 10.


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One of a series of 1942 government posters telling local Japanese Americans where to report for internment
Courtesy National Archives


 
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