Mock me from the mirror’s light
Enemy am I.
Dec 7, 1941
Today my life changed forever . . . I am no longer considered American, but by shear heritage I am now the hated enemy . . .
The lives of Kenji and Aiko Onishi and their American-born children are about to unravel when the United States is thrust into war with Japan. Confronted by insurmountable prejudice and fear, the family is ripped from their California home without just cause by the American government and sent to an assembly center “for their own protection.”
Forced to live in deplorable circumstances, every aspect of their lives regulated and controlled, the Onishi’s freedoms are stripped from their grasp as they struggle to survive behind barbed wire. It isn’t long before the mind-numbing confinement and feelings of helplessness begin to pit the family against one another.
When sent to a relocation camp in the center of the Utah desert, they’re beset by ever increasing emotional and physical challenges, and Aiko is faced with her greatest yet: to mend the broken spirits of her family, or risk losing them forever. Based on true and tragic events that transpired during World War II, Rising Sun, Falling Star is a heart-rending story of one family’s struggle to survive uncalculated loss and emotional destruction.
Meri felt a shiver run down her spine at the sight of the armed men. What slight infraction would cause them to use their weapons? Following her parents, Meri stepped from the bus, trying to keep her focus straight ahead. Her mother shielded her hat with her handbag in a vain attempt to ward off the rain, though its long pheasant feather drooped with the weight of the water.
Meri kept a wary eye on the soldiers and then allowed herself to scan her surroundings. Ahead lay the racetrack and the grandstand. Her mouth fell open. It was the Tanforan Racetrack. Soldiers began shouting orders to separate the males and females. Meri felt a shimmer of panic as she gripped her mother’s hand and was led away from her father and brothers.
Soaked to the bone, Meri and her mother fell in line with the others, her eyes darting about while her heart filled with trepidation. They filed into a large room and were ordered to strip off their wet clothes.
Meri looked at her mother in horror. “Mama,” she whispered, “we’ll be naked.”
Aiko gave her daughter a sympathetic look. For Meri, it was a mortifying thought. Even after gymnastics at school, the girls had some privacy for showers and dressing. She was never naked at home, except in the solitude of her own room or the bathroom. She’d never even seen her mother naked. Meri wanted to crawl beneath the benches that lined the walls, or pull up a floor plank and disappear into the sour earth below.
Author Vickie Hall
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