Sorry for the delay, but the first few days of the trip have been a whirlwind. This has been the first moment that I have had to make a brief entry about our first stop.

Our first stop of the trip was to Manzanar National Monument.. You are forgiven if you have never heard of it. Neither had I. However I will never forget it as long as I live.  I feel very strongly about what I am about to say which is this. EVERY American has an obligation to visit this site or others like it if they are ever within  in a 100 mile radius.  I have been brought to tears by the shear beauty of National Parks and National Monuments in the past, but there was no beauty here. There was no natural wonder. This was a few buildings scattered in a dusty field, yet I have never been so moved in all of our travels.  Manzanar was the site of a Japanese internment camp during WW II.

mansanar-1-jpgThe story of how our Government rounded up and imprisoned 10,000 American Citizens at this camp was mind boggling.  Sure, I knew the story from history courses in Jr. High School, but I really did not KNOW the story until I came here. For the most part, these were American Citizens who because of their heritage were forced from their homes, imprisoned for 3 years, and then given $20 and told that they could not return to the west coast of the United States where they owned homes, businesses, and had made a life for themselves for many years.  This is a sad piece of American History that all Americans should learn. Now more than ever.  This place was a gas chamber away from a concentration camp. manzanar-display-1-bw

 

We did this to American citizens out of ignorant fear.  They did not fly planes to Pearl Harbor, nor did they have allegiances to Japan, yet based on the actions of other Japanese people from Japan, they lost the protection of the US Constitution.  The pic below is of the memorial inside the camps cemetery. All the building are gone. Their are a few recreated buildings on display as well as a very educational visitors center, but the best part about this place is the 22 minute park movie which tells the story of Manzanar. IMG_9073