Don Miyada, a 17-year-old Japanese-American in 1942 who missed his Newport Harbor High School graduation because he and his family were sent to an internment camp, finally took part in his high school’s graduation on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Miyada, 89, who is now a retired university professor of at UC Irvine, met Sean Boulton, the high school’s principal, during a Memorial Day service at the high school and Boulton asked him if he would be interested in walking along with the 560 2014 graduates.
Boulton showed Miyada a copy of the program from Miyada’s graduation day in 1942. Miyada said, “My name was on there. I wasn’t able to attend, of course, but my name was there anyway. It was very emotional.”
Miyada’s relocation was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order No. 9066 ordering Japanese-Americans on the West Coast to be transferred to internment camps. After spending two years in the camp. Miyada moved to Michigan and was drafted.
He remembered, the Times says, “I originally picked the Navy because I thought maybe I might see some of my fellow students and graduates of Newport Harbor, but they went through the form and put me in the Army.” Miyada served in the Army in Europe, then returned to school, obtaining a doctorate in chemistry from Michigan State University.