Dedication Day Coveragen

Here is a link to an article written for the Juneau Empire just before the Empty Chair dedication by Melissa Griffiths titled Full hearts welcome Empty Chairmemorial.

Additionally, below you will find links to the Juneau Empire Photo Gallery featuring 37 photographs of the Empty Chair dedication ceremony and KTOO’s radio coverage at their online location. 

And, as if that wasn’t enough, we “got ink” in two Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down articles in the Empire. We were a definite Thumbs Up!

Thank you Juneau Empire and KTOO…you ROCK!

What a memorable day! Enjoy the coverage.


2 thoughts on “Dedication Day Coveragen

  1. Dear Empty Chair Committee, July 20, 2014
    My name is Richard Tanaka. I am the second-born son of John and Jeanne Tanaka. I had the privilege of coming to Juneau for the Empty Chair dedication. I am so glad I got to meet most of you. Thank for making this all possible. I am so glad that my Mom (90 years old) and Uncle Kats (also 90 years old), and good family friend, Walter Fukuyama (89 years old) along with 30+ relatives made it up to Juneau. My father took my two brothers and myself to Juneau in 1972. Word got out that that my father came to town and crowds met him at the City Cafe, where Sam and Gim were owners. It was nice to eat at the restaurant my Grandfather began and where my father worked. At that time I remember meeting Vern Metcalf, Kenny and Bob Thibodeau- good friends of my Dad. To all of those wonderful memories I can now add of these memories. Our visit began with a welcome committee at the Juneau Airport and Marsha Bennett taking my family to the Mendenhall Glacier. Thank you! Next day visiting the Juneau-Douglas Museum- Jodie the curator did an outstanding display! The following day, viewing the Empty Chair documentary by Greg Chaney. So informative. I learned so much and the most moving part was to discover to many affidavits written on behalf of my Grandfather despite the growing anti-Japanese sentiment. They put their reputation on the line to support our family. That is love! Saturday, the Empty Chair Memorial Dedication. What a turn out! Karleen Grummett- the “Empty Chair Story” booklet was wonderful! It was so nice to meet so many of you. Sunday our relative went to Evergreen Cemetery and placed flowers on my Grandfather,Shonosuke’s grave site. Earlier that day I walked along the Gold Creek flume and came to that Cemetery and found not only my grandfather’s grave site but also found a grave site with this inscription. “To Our Beloved Baby, In Memory, F. Tanaka, Born-Died, June 20, 1925” I never remembered my Dad ever mentioning that there was a still born directly after him. I met my Auntie Alice eating breakfast and asked her about this. She said that she had long since forgot, but now with this reminder she remembers visit the cemetery and placing flowers not only on her father’s grave site but also on a still born’s site. Another piece of the puzzle found. I truly believe God helped me to find not only my grandfather’s site but also my uncle/aunt’s site, as it was partially buried. I leave Juneau feeling more connected with my roots and more connected with the community that my father loved. It was evident 70+ years ago as demonstrated so well in how the Juneau community loved and supported all the Japanese before, during and after these difficult times and is still evident today. I teach my nine children that “integrity” is “doing what is right when no one else is looking.” I think I need to change that it is also: “doing what is right when everyone is looking”. As you did when you loved the Japanese when it was very unpopular. My deepest gratitudes to all of you for your unfailing love you showed to my family. My only regret is that I was not able to bring my entire family to Juneau, but I did bring my wife, Lori and two of my daughters, Bethany and Kristi. I hope to once again return to your wonderful town. Thank you for making this such a memorable trip! Richard Tanaka
    my website:
    check out “Rich’s Updates”- pictures of our trip and learn about my Uncle Teddy who was lost in Juneau 1939 (under “letters”- 2007)
    My story of the Empty Chair- (under “letters” -2013)

  2. Dear Empty Chair Committee, Greg Chaney, Peter Reiquam, Members of the Juneau Community, I would like to express my most heartfelt gratitude for all of the work you have done over these past two years. There were so many amazing details, such as the folded cranes, Karleen’s historical program, the reception at Silverbow Bakery (originally Messerschmidt’s bakery), the media coverage, the tour of the original site of the Juneau Douglas High School, the poster and postcards we were given at the museum, and the list goes on. I was so moved by Peter Reiquam’s Empty Chair piece, the Juneau Douglas City Museum exhibit, Greg Chaney’s film and by the outpouring of support from family, friends and community members. I was inspired by the firsthand accounts by the internees who came to the Empty Chair dedication, including my aunt and my mother. I was inspired by the people of Juneau who supported my mother’s family and others during and in the aftermath of World War II. I was inspired by the friendship between Margie Alstead Shackleford and my mother Mary Tanaka Abo. I was inspired by what a community can do in the name of peace, love and humanity. I am inspired by you all and gladdened that my children can see what simple kindness can do for a community and future generations. I feel as though I have been given a gift of a lifetime and I will share this story as often as I can!

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    In deepest gratitude,

    Julie Abo

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