Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com
State Rep. Rob Witwer talks about
the proceedings with former internees March 16 at
the State Capitol where the Colorado House and Senate
passed House Joint Resolution 1010 to rename a section
of U.S. 285 to the Ralph Carr Memorial Highway.
Colorado renames highway to honor
Gov. Ralph Carr
Former governor stood up for Japanese Americans during
World War II
By Joe Nguyen, AsiaXpress.com
March 17, 2008
Ralph Carr Memorial Highway
Red denotes highway section
• U.S. 285 from C-470 to New Mexico border
is now known as the Ralph Carr Memorial Highway
DENVER – During World War II, an estimated 120,000
Japanese Americans were stripped of their rights, forced
out of their homes and relocated to internment camps.
Former Colorado Gov. Ralph Carr was one of the few in
power who stood up for them and offered refuge.
More than 60 years later, he was finally honored by the
The Colorado House and Senate passed House Joint Resolution
1010 on March 14 at the Capitol, which designates U.S.
285 from C-470 to the New Mexico border as the Ralph Carr
"I'm glad we did it now," said State Rep. Rob
Witwer, one of the bill's main sponsors, along with State
Rep. Rafael Gallegos. "It's a long overdue honor."
Witwer said he knew of Gov. Carr, but it wasn't until
he read a copy of 9News reporter Adam Schrager's book,
"Principled Politician: The Ralph Carr Story,"
last year that he learned the whole story. Over the past
six months, he said he's had hundreds of conversations
with people who didn't know who Carr was.
"After I'm done explaining the whole story, people
are amazed that he's not more well known and that this
hasn't been more publicized," he said. "That's
sort of the whole point of this project is to let more
people know about the story. What happened during the
Second World War, what Ralph Carr did, and why what he
did is worthy of commemorating and honoring."
But the bill isn't just about commemorating Carr, Witwer
"This resolution is about Ralph Carr," he said,
"but it's really for all the people who he defended
and spoke for."
Several Japanese-American internees and military veterans
were present during the legislative session. After the
bill was unanimously passed, members of the assembly gave
the veterans a standing ovation and took a short break
to talk to them.
"[Gov. Carr] is really a brave man because he did
it when the whole country was against the Japanese at
that time," said Jim Hada, a Japanese-American veteran.
Witwer said that there will be two signs on U.S. 285
– One near the intersection at C-470 and the other
at the New Mexico border. He added that there are also
plans for privately funded memorial plaques at Kenosha
Joe Nguyen is the editor in chief
of AsiaXpress.com. Joe can be reached at joe (at) asiaxpress.com.