This Friday I’m featuring a photograph from Manzanar National Historic Park taken by Jonathan Berg from The Royal Tour Blog.
Jonathan is a former non-profit executive who decided to chuck it all and become a travel blogger. The jury is still out as to whether this was a good move. ;)
Photo Story: Manzanar National Historic Park
Sometimes there is immense beauty in the middle of incredible ugliness.
This is the cemetery marker at Manzanar, a concentration camp in California where Japanese-Americans were sent during World War II.
Despite being jailed by their own country in a desert (the mountains here act as a barrier to rain reaching the Owens Valley) and living in fairly unpleasant conditions, those interned here made efforts to beautify their surroundings.
Parks were built (and koi ponds dug out), and artists created beauty remnants of home.
This monument stands about five feet outside the barbed wire fence, as they believed nobody should suffer the indignity of being buried in captivity.
The story of Manzanar is one that is disturbing, and yet, even in a place like this, a sense of community was built. It is inspirational, educational, and a lesson we can never forget.
To get to Manzanar National Historic Park, drive north from Los Angeles past the entrance to Death Valley.
It is right off Highway 395, it’s watchtowers and fences visible from the busy highway and yet passed by.
We owe it to the memory of those imprisoned here merely for their ethnic background to stop, to marvel, and to remember.
Manzanar National Historic Site is most widely known as the site of one of ten American concentration camps where over 110,000 Japanese Americans were interned during World War II from December 1942 to 1945.
Located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada in California’s Owens Valley between the towns of Lone Pine to the south and Independence to the north, it is approximately 370 km north of Los Angeles.
Since the end of World War II, there has been debate over the terminology used to refer to Manzanar, and the other camps in which Americans of Japanese ancestry and their immigrant parents, were incarcerated by the United States Governmentduring the war.
Manzanar has been referred to as a “War Relocation Center,” “relocation camp,” “relocation center,” “internment camp”, and “concentration camp”, and the controversy over which term is the most accurate and appropriate continues to the present day.
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