Saturday, September 10, 2011
1-2 p.m. (CDT)
12-1 p.m. (MDT)
11 a.m.-12 p.m. (PDT)
Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
8th and F Streets NW
Washington, DC 20001
Secretary Norman Mineta discusses his life and the events and impact of September 11, 2001. During the tragic events of 9/11, then Secretary of Transportation Mineta issued the historic order to ground all civilian aircraft, the first time this had been done in U.S. history. Mineta retired from his Cabinet post in 2006 and in that same year, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. This talk took place in front of Mineta’s portrait at the National Portrait Gallery.
A Personal Note from the APA Program Director, Konrad Ng:
As the tenth anniversary of September 11th approaches, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program (APAP) finds itself in a period of discussion and reverence. How may the APAP “bear witness to history”, as our colleagues in the National Museum of American History aptly frame the curation of 9/11? To “bear witness,” that is, to shoulder reflection on events that continue to be real for many people, means that we Americans of Asian and Pacific Islander descent must ask questions about how 9/11 affected our lives and the communities of our fellow citizens. Over the last decade, a plurality of voices and stories has emerged.
This year, we asked one witness of history to be the voice of many.
Secretary Norman Mineta was the Secretary of Transportation on September 11, 2001. He also served as the Secretary of Commerce, as a member of Congress, as a mayor of San Jose, CA and as a member of the Smithsonian Board of Regents. Secretary Mineta co-founded the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and was a central advocate for the creation of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program.
Born in 1931 in San Jose, CA, Secretary Mineta and his family were interned along with 120,000 of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. He engineered the passage of H.R. 442, the Civil Liberties Act of 1988—an official government apology for the internment of Japanese Americans.
In 2010, our program commissioned and donated a portrait of Secretary Mineta for the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
Bearing witness to September 11 will become a task for generations. Secretary Mineta is one voice for our generation.
To learn more about Secretary Mineta’s life, watch this informative video by Samantha Cheng: