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"War delays Ida O'Connell's diploma no longer"

Black Mountain News

September 2, 2015

In his role as Honorary Consul for Japan, Nexsen Pruet's David Robinson recently presented a California High School diploma to Ms. Ida Tabuchi O’Connell, who currently lives in Asheville, NC.

Black Mountain News reporter Paul Clark wrote O'Connell's story last week. An excerpt:

Friends and family will gather at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Center to present the longtime Black Mountain resident and artist with the diploma she earned years ago, one delayed by her family’s internment during World War II, one that, despite O’Connell’s finishing high school with good grades and the expectation of living the life that other Americans were living, she never pursued.

More from Black Mountain News. Asheville's WLOS-TV also covered the news."Woman Gets Diploma 73 Years Late."

Following the diploma ceremony, Robinson took time to answer a few questions about the experience.

Q: Did you ever think that being Honorary Consul for Japan would lead you to an evening of such historical significance?

A: Honestly, I hoped that my new position would enable me not only to attend important events, but to also meet interesting people. Last Saturday night was both! Although I was the presenter, I was a student of history with everyone else that evening. History always comes alive when it’s told first hand.

Q: What did you learn from meeting and getting to know Ms. Ida Tabuchi O’Connell?

A: The two inescapable conclusions from an evening filled with life lessons were that (1) the best and sharpest memories so very often involve the kindness of strangers, and (2) a ‘bloom where you are planted’ outlook is so very important.

Q: You have spent vast amounts of time doing business in Japan, what do you want your fellow Americans to remember about episodes that stain our history, like the interment of thousands of Japanese immigrants?

A: What makes the US-Japan partnership such a model for the world is that it grew out of a terrible and tragic time. Following such an epic struggle, the Japanese and American peoples were able to re-focus and concentrate on shared values and liberties. It is important to reflect upon negatives in the past, but only for purposes of learning from them to re-focus on potential positives for the future.

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The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs appointed David S. Robinson to a five-year term as Honorary Consul to the state of North Carolina in the Spring of 2015. His law practice is focused on facilitating business transactions by resolving matters related to employment and labor law, particularly matters those involving international and immigration law.