It’s hard to put into words the thoughts and feelings that I experienced when I visited the historical site of the Manzanar Relocation Center. Manzanar is one of 10 relocation centers (or internment camp) where the United States forcibly imprisoned Japanese and Japanese-American citizens after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
It’s a place of injustice, a place of betrayal, a place of hardship and human suffering. And like any such place, out of it come stories of courage and perseverance, of kindness and forgiveness and hope. Since I’m not Japanese, and I have no personal involvement with the historical events the place was established as a National Park to preserve, I will just share the pictures and the links below and allow them to speak for themselves.
The one thing I can do is join my voice with that of others saying: Never Again to Anyone, Anywhere. The recent issues with Muslim Americans being profiled, watched, or detained because of their religion (and its association with terrorism, especially after the 9/11/2001 attack) makes this a very relevant issue for us today. Personally, I would not trade “safety” for the violation of innocent citizens’ rights (if such a trade could even be assured). I encourage every American who has the chance to visit this place and to take to heart the lessons of history, that they might not be repeated again.
A Photo Scrapbook
There was so much to see, and the exhibits do a very good job of sharing the story. These photos are a small sampling of the 150 or so that I took on my visit.
Annual Event at Manzanar
The next annual pilgrimage to Manzanar is coming up April 29th, 2017. The theme this year is Never Again To Anyone, Anywhere! 75th Commemoration of Executive Order 9066. Get details on the Manzanar Committee blog.
- Manzanar – National Park Service page
- Manzanar on Wikipedia
- Sue Kunitomi Embrey on Wikipedia – lead activist for preserving Manzanar as a historical site
- Manzanar Committee blog – information about annual pilgrimage and other current events related to the topic
- Ansel Adams’ Manzanar photographs and lots of Ansel Adams photos featured in this article on Mashable
- Japanese American National Museum
- Allegiance – the Broadway musical inspired by the experiences of Japanese Americans interned in the U.S. during WWII