Graduation heals World War II internment wounds

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — A California man who missed his 1942 graduation because he was locked in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans finally walked in a cap and gown last week, more than seven decades after he was pulled out of class just a month shy of his big day.

Don Miyada, now 89, joined Newport Harbor High School’s 2014 graduating class on stage and received a standing ovation when he was hailed as an inaugural member of the school’s hall of fame, the Los Angeles Times reported on Sunday (http://lat.ms/Tl23iJ).

Miyada was 17 when he was sent with his family and more than 17,000 other detainees to a patch of desert land near Poston, Arizona shortly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor during World War II. A teacher later sent him a letter expressing shock that he couldn’t finish high school and included a diploma — but Miyada always regretted that he missed the celebration.

In May, Miyada met Newport Harbor’s principal, Sean Boulton, during a Memorial Day service at the high school and Boulton invited him to walk with the 560 seniors who would be graduating. Boulton even found a copy of the program from what would have been Miyada’s graduation day in 1942.

“My name was on there,” Miyada said. “I wasn’t able to attend, of course, but my name was there anyway. It was very emotional.”

After two years in the camp, Miyada moved to Michigan, where he was drafted. He went on to serve in the U.S. Army in Europe and then earned a doctorate in chemistry from Michigan State University. He eventually became a professor at the University of California, Irvine.

During last week’s graduation ceremonies, Miyada returned the letter he had received from his teacher and thanked the teenagers who were crossing the stage with him.

“It’s their time to graduate and their time of honor,” he said. “I’m happy they invited me to be one of them.”

More in Local News

‘Come talk to me. Don’t jump, come talk to me’

State Patrol trooper Yaroslav Holodkov just happened to be driving by when he saw a suicidal man.

Marysville educators reach out to a newly traumatized school

Several affected by shootings in 2014 offered to talk with counterparts in Eastern Washington.

Hurry! Target will take your old car seat, but not for long

The seats will be taken apart and the various materials recycled.

Sheriff’s Office receives national recognition

Sheriff accepts award “notable achievements in the field of highway safety” over the past year.

Edmonds-Woodway High School briefly locked down

A student tried to stop a fight and a boy, 16, responded by threatening the student with a knife.

Study considers making it legal to grow marijuana at home

The Liquor and Cannabis Board is considering two scenarios for allowing a minimal number of plants.

Minutes mattered the day Pat Ward was brought back to life

The Mukilteo police and fire chaplain died at breakfast. She got a second chance thanks to a waitress.

Marysville babysitter found guilty of infant girl’s death

Medical experts differed over whether it was head trauma or illness that caused the baby to die.

Whether cheers or jeers, DeVos appearance will rouse spirits

Trump’s secretary of education is coming to Bellevue to raise money for a pro-business think tank.

Most Read