I often think of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor this time of year. On June 2, 1942, the Japanese bombed the village of Unalaska and the airbase next door on Dutch Harbor. A week later, they invaded Attu Island. Alaska was the only territory of the United States that was invaded by a foreign army during World War II. Thousands of American troops were sent to Alaska, and it took more than a year to remove the enemy. Many U. S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen gave their lives in the effort.
The most terrible aspect of the war was the U. S. Government internment of thousands of indigenous Unangan (or Aleut) Alaskans from the Aleutians and Pribilof Islands, removing them to dilapidated, unhealthy camps in Southeast Alaska for three years. In the meantime, U. S. military troops burned down some of the villages, and stole from others as they set up quarters in abandoned buildings. Many indigenous people died in the camps, and some were not allowed to relocate back to their villages. Others came home to find their homes ruined or pillaged.
I post this summary and photos in honor of the indigenous people who were harmed and killed by enemies and agents of their own governments.
I also thank the U. S. military personnel who fought and died to defend Alaska.