Endorsement Letter from former President George H. Bush
The White House
July 26, 1998
It gives me great pleasure to greet everyone assembled at Fort Vancouver for the dedication of a monument commemorating the arrival of the first Japanese in the United States in 1833.
I welcome your gathering as an opportunity to celebrate the deep ties of friendship that exist between the American and Japanese peoples, a friendship that began in your area 156 years ago. The three shipwrecked sailors who landed near Fort Vancouver gave Americans their first encounter with Japanese people, their culture and language, and, in turn, brought them not only welcome hospitality after a long ordeal but also an introduction to Western values and customs. This chance meeting later played a role in the opening of Japan to the outside world and to trade with other nations.
It is important that this historical event be remembered and honored, and I thank everyone who had a part in the successful completion of this monument. It will be a fitting reminder of the beginning of a long relationship that has been at times complicated, once bitter, but – overall and overwhelmingly – rewarding for both our peoples.
On this very special occasion, I salute Americans of Japanese ancestry as you commemorate the long journey of three who endured to find a haven on these shores. Though they did not stay, we give thanks that, over the years, so many of their compatriots followed them here and made this land their own. You, their descendants, can be justly proud of your contributions to the well-being and progress of this nation and of your unfailing devotion to liberty and justice. Just as you keep faith with your great ancestral legacy, so should every American remember and appreciated all that Japan has given to us and to the world.
To everyone present at this event, Barbara and I send our warmest good wishes. May you have a joyous and memorable day, and may God bless you always,