NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (UPI)–Twitter darling and original Star Trek helmsman George Takei opened up to NBC Thursday about his experience being taken to a Japanese American interment camp, discussing the imagery he’ll “never forget,” and how it influenced his ongoing humanitarian work.
On Feb. 19, 1942, just two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States’ official entrance into World War II, President Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the forced internment of Japanese-Americans living on the West coast.
At the time, Takei and his family were living in Los Angeles.
“We saw two soldiers marching up our driveway,” Takei told the Today Show.
“[We were] sumarily rounded up with no charges, no trial – you know the central pillar of our justice system is due process all of that disappeared. Literally at gunpoint, we were ordered out of our home.”
In addition to literally staring down the barrel of a rifle as a 5-year-old, Takei said he he’ll never forget the image of his mother and baby sister in tears as they were forced from their home.
“When she finally emerged she had our baby sister — she was still an infant — and huge duffel bag in the other arm and tears were streaming down both their cheeks.”
Takei’s family was kept in a series of internment camps for the duration of the war — an experience the man who played Hikaru Sulu explores in detail in the new Starz documentary about his life, To Be Takei.