Ernie Barr was interned during WW II in CPS Camp 56, Waldport, Oregon. Along with his brother Francis, Ernie also participated in the pneumonia research program during the war. Many COs voluntarily participated in dangerous medical research because they believed that they were helping their country without taking up arms. The work they did in these programs made an important contribution to science. The data they collected is still used today.
ďWe moved from Myrtle Point to Napa, Idaho, in 1942. The thing I remember about Napa was that there were a number of Japanese students in the school. They seemed to me pretty well acclimated so I donít think they were there as a part of the moving of Japanese people. I never asked them. I didnít know them well, but they obviously were pretty well ensconced, you know, in the community.
"The thing I do remember about high school was that both my brother and I refused to do the military training. There were two aspects to it. One was the physical training, which we did agree to, meant learning to climb a rope, up and back, and then doing some tumbling and that kind of stuff. We had no problem with that.
"And I donít recall if we discussed this. I mean we just kind of came to this by ourselves, when it came to the military marching with us in groups or whatever they had for us, we didnít do that. But they assigned us to outlining the Red Cross First Aid Manual, which I think was partly punitive. I learned a few things in spite of the exercise.
"The thing that really did get to me was, I played the baritone horn in the band and one song that was popular then was ĎPraise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.í The band director put that in our music folder and there it was, and the first time I saw that I, you know, he led it, I played and I just felt that I would never ever do that again. So the next time he pulled it out, another day or so later, I didnít play and he took his baton and kind of poked at me, you know, from the directorís stand, and I pointed to my lip. I often had herpes cold sores, so for that session thatís what he assumed. And then I spoke to him later, after the band period was over and I said I canít play that song. And I tried to explain, I was a junior in high school trying to explain to a teacher whatís what, what Iím feeling. He said weíre not singing the words, and I said I know, but people are singing the words to our song when we learn it and play it out in the community. The thing that was striking to me was that he put that song away. We never played it again.Ē
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