Fresno Tower Pays Tribute To Interned Japanese-Americans - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Fresno Tower Pays Tribute To Interned Japanese-Americans

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

Fresno's newest landmark is 26 feet tall and this tower towers over everything else at Simonian Farms in southeast Fresno. 

Dennis Simonian created the memorial tower to honor four families he says taught him about farming and family.  "That was the Takahashi families of Clovis, the Hayashi family, Mochizuki family on Kings Canyon.   They had a fruit stand on Kings Canyon and Minnewawa.

The lumber has special significance.  The builder of the tower, Daniels Wood Products in Paso Robles, got it from Arizona where Japanese-Americans were interned.  "Once I found out this wood came out of Poston, Arizona that's what got me to do it out of the internment camp. They told me if it wasn't this height and the way it was they didn't want to be a part of it."

One Japanese-American says this tower has so many similarities to the internment camps in Arizona.  He talked about the holes in the wood and the gaps between the two boards and how they would have to crush cans to seal it up so sand wouldn't blow in.

The tower took less time to create than the picture board that sits in front of the tower.  The photographs dating back to World War Two require special permission. 

The Japanese inscription on the monument translates to Soul Consoling Tower.  "And I feel so good in my own soul for what I'm doing."

The memorial will be formally dedicated next Tuesday morning at ten.

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