MEMORIAL — 2009 Story Wall Construction Groundbreaking Ceremony

Construction begins for Phase 2 "Story Wall"

At 11:03 a.m. on Monday, March 30, 2009, the oldest surviving Bainbridge Island Japanese American, 98 year–old Fumiko Hayashida, joyfully stood in the cab of a construction backhoe as it broke ground for the long–awaited "Story Wall" for the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Memorial (BIJAM).

It was an unforgettable ending to the 67th Anniversary ceremony, commemorating the historic moment when Hayashida and 226 fellow Bainbridge Islanders departed from the Eagledale ferry landing at 11:03 a.m. on Monday, March 30, 1942, becoming the first Japanese Americans exiled to concentration camps in WWII.

Phase 2, the 272–foot long "Story Wall" — one foot for every Japanese American who lived on Bainbridge Island at the start of WWII — is the heart of the memorial project, telling a unique American story of immigration, establishment, their forced removal and return to their island home.

Designed by award–winning architect and fellow islander Johnpaul Jones and BIJAM Project Manager John Buday of Cascade Crest Designs, the gently curving wall of granite, basalt and cedar is being built on Taylor Road where the Bainbridge Islanders were escorted by armed US Army soldiers to the ferry landing.

The nearly $500,000 project was awarded to Drury Construction of Poulsbo, WA (who generously provided Fumiko Hayashida's backhoe) and it is expected to be built by this summer. However, $300,000 is still needed to design, produce and install interpretive materials for the wall.

Still to come and yet unfunded are Phase 3, which includes a timber–framed environmentally designed interpretive center and meeting room complex ($5.7 million), and Phase 4, a 150 foot "departure pier" representing the 150 Japanese Americans who returned to Bainbridge Island after the war ($900,000).

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