Diploma rights a wrong of war
World War II disrupted the academic careers of scores of young students seven decades ago. Leaving school to enlist, many found themselves years later without a high school diploma. In Indiana and elsewhere, a veteran can receive an honorary diploma if he or she was honorably discharged.
Don Miyada didn’t leave school to enlist, but he missed his Newport Harbor (California) High School commencement nonetheless. A month before he was to graduate in 1942, his family was sent to an internment camp in Arizona. Last week, the 89-year-old veteran accepted a diploma along with Newport Harbor’s class of 2014.
Miyada and his family were among the more than 100,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry removed from their homes and sent to internment camps after the bombing in Pearl Harbor. In Miyada’s case, it was a camp in Poston, Ariz., where more than 17,000 detainees were held.
Miyada spent two years in the camp before he was released and relocated to Michigan, where he was quickly drafted. He served in Europe and then returned to earn a doctorate in chemistry at Michigan State University.
The 1942 internment order was finally terminated in 1976.