Wednesday, October 12, 2011


My 5th grade teacher in St. Paul was Japanese-American. He moved to Minnesota from California. He told us about growing up in a camp, which sounded really cool to all of us who were living in homes and neighborhoods. This camp, he told us, was filled with other people of Japanese heritage and they were forced to live together way out in the country because the United States was afraid some of them might be terrorists (that's not the term he used, but it would be the word he'd use today). The camp was named "Manzanar".

This week when Martha and I were driving to Mammoth Lakes for a long weekend away, we were driving north on California Highway 395 when the little sign said "Manzanar" ahead on the left. We pulled in and quietly drove through the now barren landscape. This was one of ten US locations in the west that housed Japanese-Americans. Manzanar held 110,000 people! Such pain in the midst of such beauty.


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