In Richmond, war stirred thousands to roll up their sleeves and build new ships. They shared a single goal: to win against the enemy. War kindled fear and long-held prejudices, and America’s own citizens became suspect. Immigrants from Japan and Italy who’d lived in Richmond for decades were labeled "enemy aliens."
Japanese Americans were forced to shutter their businesses and piled onto trains, each passenger clutching the two suitcases they were allowed to carry. They were incarcerated, behind barbed wire, in Topaz Relocation Center, Utah. Italian-American families were split in two: non-citizens were forced away from the waterfront, while others could stay in Richmond. Yet citizens of both communities enlisted to defend US ideals. Despite the wounds of war, many who were sent away returned to Richmond. They rebuilt. The greenhouses filled with roses and carnations.