Annual Pilgrimage Visits Minidoka Historical Site Near Jerome
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV) If you haven't been out to the old Hunt Camp east of Jerome in the last year, there are some new changes. The annual pilgrimage will visit the Minidoka National Historical Site this Saturday and Sunday.
90 year old Dorothy Hirai of Twin Falls was taken to what's now the Minidoka National Historic Site when she was just 20 years old in August 1942.
Minidoka internee Dorothy Hirai says, "I came as a secretary, so I had a job when I got here. And my husband was a truck foreman, so he took care of all the incoming trucks to put people in their barracks."
Dorothy's brothers all served in the US military during World War II, and their names are on the honor roll at Minidoka. Dorothy's daughter Karen was born at Hunt Camp. The Hirais lived there for roughly two and a half years, from August 1942 until December 1944. Then Dorothy's husband Tom began farming near Curry, west of Twin Falls, where he farmed for 20 years.
Dorothy's daughter Karen Hirai Olen says, "I don't have any direct memory of being at Minidoka. Everything that I know has come from my mom and my aunts, my family, and the family friends that talk about different things."
Some new signs have gone up at the Minidoka Site to explain exactly what happened after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War Two, when more than 10,000 Japanese Americans were held here between 1942 and 1945.
Dorothy Hirai says, "After the war, I said maybe I'll go back to Seattle. But my husband, he liked to fish and hunt, and said there's nothing like it here in Idaho, so we never went back. My family all went back home to Seattle."
This weekend marks the Minidoka National Historic Site's 11th anniversary as a park.
June 21, 2012.