Internment camp survivor relives past, hopes history won't repeat itself

Mitsue Salador was an 18-year-old freshman studying nursing at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an Executive Order forcing more than 100,000 Japanese Americans, many of them U.S. citizens, into internment camps.

Salador said the government restricted travel so she couldn't go home to her family. She was housed in an assembly center in Portland, Oregon, while her family was in Pinedale, California.

"The place was surrounded by barbed wire and they had towers in which soldiers were stationed.  We had an army blanket with ticking and straw in it to lie on," she said.

She and her family were freed after several months as long as they moved away from the western defense command. Seventy five years later, Salador, who's now 93-years-old, looks back.

"As a group of people my family knew. They felt like it was a terrible thing, but if the government said we have to, we’ll just go along. We won't make trouble," she said.

The Civil Liberties Law passed decades later, offered her and other Japanese Americans a formal apology and compensation. However, Salador said President Trump's move to ban the entry of citizens from seven countries brought up bad memories. She hopes history doesn’t repeat itself. Her daughter Deborah Smith said her mom didn't speak about her past for fifty years.

"It’s with great pride to watch her speak about something that wasn't easy to get through," said Smith.

The American flag hung outside Salador's West Islip home is a symbol of her pride. She hopes politics won't get in the way of people living their lives.

"People should learn to know each other rather than making a judgement about a whole group of people," she said.