Gordon Hirabayashi, 1918-2012

If you don’t know the name Gordon Hirabayashi, you should. He is an indisputable hero and icon of American history.

Best known for being one of the few people to openly defy the government’s unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, Hirabayashi was arrested, convicted and imprisoned for his civil disobedience. He eventually appealed his case to the Supreme Court (Hirabayashi vs. United States) — the first challenge to Executive Order 9066. The Court ruled against him, 9-0. Forty years later, his wartime convictions were successfully overturned.

Gordon Hirabayashi died on January 2. He was 93.

Mr. Hirabayashi’s son, Jay Hirabayashi, announced his father’s passing via Facebook:

My Dad, Gordon K. Hirabayashi, who was ninety-three, passed away early this morning. He was an American hero besides being a great father who taught me about the values of honesty, integrity, and justice. My Mother, Esther Hirabayashi, who was eighty-seven, also passed away this morning about ten hours later. She was a beautiful, intelligent, generous soul. Although my parents were divorced, they somehow chose to leave us on the same day. I am missing them a lot right now.

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