"Anthem" by Leonard Cohen

"The birds they sang at the break of day
Start again, I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
or what has yet to be...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Manzanar Cemetery


Manzanar Cemetery
Originally uploaded by musicmuse_ca
I stopped at Manzanar while travelling down Highy 395 on the Eastern Sierras. This was the WWII internment camp for the Japanese who were living on the West Coast during WWII.

When I first moved to California, I had no knowledge of this shameful piece of US history. One of my co-workers in LA who was of Japanese descent mentioned to me that she grew up there during part of her childhood, and it was from her that I learned of the history of this place.

It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. It is so hot, dry and incredibly remote. Not so hard to imagine how awful it must have been to be forced to move there, leaving all the comforts of home behind and loosing most of your posessions and properties and buisnesses simply because your ancestors were born in Japan. Don't forget, these were all US citizens who had comitted no crime except that of looking like the enemy.

The ultimate irony is that many of the young men from there volunteered to fight for the freedom of the US in WWII, while the rest of their families were locked up at this camp. Their unit was one of the most decorated in Europe and also incurred the most casulties.

Not much is left there now, but the interpretive center, some markers of what used to be there and this cemetery standing alone at the foot of the Sierras.

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