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Japanese offer precious lessons

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Peace be upon you all. This letter is to all our Japanese friends who reside in Auburn and the surrounding communities. I want to first thank you for the great contributions that you have made here in Auburn and the surrounding communities through the years. Secondly, I want to extend my heartfelt prayers and good thoughts for those of you here and in Japan who are currently suffering due to the devastating event that hit Japan on March 11. I hope that those of you here did not lose any family or friends in Japan. If so, I am truly sorry for your loss and may you find comfort in your family and friends here. Fifty years ago I had the privilege of working in the fields for a Japanese family in Kent, Wash. Though 10 at the time, I was immediately drawn to the family and interested in their culture. There was a calm orderly manner in which they directed us working in the fields; we were treated with dignity and respect. I worked for the family for four summers and left with such fond memories, yet troubled by what they had gone through years earlier. The family, mostly American-born, had gone through the internment of World War II, losing their lands and being separated from family members. When released from internment they returned to the Green River Valley and rebuilt the farms that they had lost. They became a big part of that community in spite of all the neighbors who had shunned them in past years. It was during those four years that I developed intolerance for people using slang phrases in regards to other races. I became passionate about defending the human aspect of others no matter what color their skin was. Since living in Auburn I again have had the privilege of knowing some folks from our Japanese community. My thoughts and prayers are with you now during this ongoing tragedy and crisis happening in Japan. In closing, thank you for the kindness you have shown me whenever I see you out and about in Auburn. It is always a bright moment in my day. CHERIE HOLM, Meadow Vista