Two Former Government Leaders Honored At Heart Mountain, Wyoming

S. F. Mori

Site of an American concentration camp of World War II

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Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park(Image is author's)

Not far from the famous Yellowstone National Park is a place called Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Barracks and other temporary buildings were constructed there during World War II. Heart Mountain was one of ten American concentration camps which held Japanese Americans and immigrants from Japan as prisoners during the war years.

Two cub scouts met at that camp during the war. Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta was incarcerated with his family at Heart Mountain when he was ten years old. Former U.S. Senator from Wyoming Alan Simpson was a boy living in nearby Cody, Wyoming. When Mineta's scout leader asked other scout groups to come to the camp, Simpson came with his troop to the camp. The two shared a pup tent and kept in touch. Mineta and Simpson became close friends while Simpson was a Senator and Mineta was a Congressman from San Jose, California. They were lifelong friends until Mineta's passing in May 2022.

The two friends will have the Mineta-Simpson Institute named for them at Heart Mountain. It will be an expansion of the learning center at the camp site.

A groundbreaking event was held recently at Heart Mountain at which Liz Cheney spoke. She took time out of her busy schedule during a difficult campaign to support the community. Her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, accompanied her along with several others. The Simpson and Cheney families have been friends for years. Dick Cheney was Vice President while Mineta was serving as Secretary of Transportation (which included 9/11).

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The Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center(Image is author's)

The people of Japanese heritage had done no wrong, but they were imprisoned simply due to their race. The reasons were later determined to be: racism, war hysteria, and a lack of competent government leadership at the time of World War II.

One of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6 Capitol riots, Cheney has been bullied and targeted by Trump since then. Because she has been willing to serve on the January 6 Committee, she had further become a victim of Trump’s wrath.

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A Wyoming Scene(Image is author's)

Wyoming is a place with wide open spaces. Although there are some cities in the state, the population is such that they have only one Representative in the U.S. House. Cheney has been that Representative. Although she won her last election by over 70%, she was unable to prevail in the recent primary election.

Despite the fact that she has been a conservative voice and has aligned with Trump on many issues, she has become one of his biggest targets.

Some fellow Republicans have shown support or disdain for Cheney. Senator Mitt Romney from Wyoming’s neighboring state of Utah has praised Cheney. Senator Ted Cruz endorsed her opponent. Liz Cheney is doing what she feels is right for the country.

[Reference: The Japanese American Story as Told Through a Collection of Speeches and Articles, www.thejapaneeamericanstory.com]

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I am a retired President/CEO of civil rights organizations. I have been a Mayor and California State Assemblyman as well as a College Instructor of Economics. I have also been an entrepreneur and international business consultant. I will be sharing articles mostly about life, politics, racism, travel, health, and relationships.

Salt Lake City, UT
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