On a recent road trip getaway with my husband, we traveled through the Owen’s Valley and stopped at Manzanar, the most widely known internment camp for over 110,000 Japanese Americans. It is ironically located within six miles of a town called Independence, California. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manzanar
For those who don’t know the history, you can learn more here.
After Pearl Harbor in 1941 the U.S. Government decided to deal with the “Japanese problem” on the west coast. In 1942, President Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing “relocation centers” to be built.
These pictures I share are from the onsite museum. Visiting the reproductions of what the apartments were like was unsettling and moving. My heart sank as I read individual stories of Americans of Japanese descent who were uprooted and gave up their lives as they knew them, to spend the next three years from 1942-1945 at Manzanar. Some felt it was their way of helping out the war effort, which was amazing to me. The resilient people took the desert surroundings and made gardens and ponds and places of beauty. As best they could they carried on with their lives in the small confines of this camp. The high school teens couldn’t leave the grounds, so they had their sports events right inside the Internment fences. To see these Americans in cheerleading costumes and trying to go on with a “normal” life while being incarcerated was heart wrenching. There are many excellent movie clips and the museum is well worth the drive. I highly recommend it.
This is a part of our history that we cannot be proud of. Long after the fact, in 1988, President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act and each living survivor of the internment camps were paid $20,000 in redress for the forced incarceration.
For more moving pictures go here: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=manzanar&qpvt=manzanar&FORM=IGRE
Since visiting Manzanar, it has been on my heart to share this story with those who may not know it. Thank you for reading.
Until next time, make it a great one!