Territory of Hawai'i

Alice's birth certificate.
Alice's birth certificate.

The year is 1942. Pearl Harbor has just been bombed and America has officially been given a reason to enter World War 2. Amongst all the people in Hawai’i who were affected by stress and anxiety, stood a little 4-year-old girl who watched the Japanese planes fly over her home. She was scared, the planes were very loud. She was anxious, because now there was silence. After the attacks, this little girl boarded a Navy ship on its way to California with her small family. On board this ship she remembered the members of the Navy on board, the anxiety of the unknown, along with how small she was compared to this big ship. This little girl ended up growing up in Brooklyn, NY and is my grandmother.

My grandmother, Alice, has told me this story multiple times, but each time she gives me a detail she may have forgotten, or an emotion that she forgot that she had felt. My grandma explained to me that our family was originally from the Big Island of Hawai'i and moved to Oahu, where she was born. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, her family was relocated to New York because of my great-grandfather’s affiliation to the Navy. My grandmother’s birth certificate is an important document in our family; on the top it read’s Territory of Hawai’i, rather than 'state'. It reminds our family of the multiple generations that we are able to trace back to the Hawaiian Islands and of the importance of our Hawaiian culture to us and is that it is something that deviates my family from the others. We are all united by this similar heritage and are able to celebrate it together.

Place(s): Oahu, Hawaii -- New York City, New York
Year: 1942

– Jacqueline Campbell

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant