we left the valley on wednesday evening. car packed stuffed with tents, suitcases, bikes and food. we drove about 3 hours to independence, ca for the night.
the next morning we drove 10 minutes to manzanar.
bobby is a huge history buff and wanted to visit this site for research on a project. we've driven by here before, but not since they opened the museum. and it was something we wanted the kids to see.
i knew only the basic history of this place. a "relocation camp" for japanese detainees during wwii. i had no idea how emotional and gripping this visit would be. imagining life here on a day to day basis. families taken away from their homes and forced into barracks with no privacy. families torn apart, lives lost, the emotion, confusion and fear must have been overwhelming.
this spot is now a national historical site with recreated areas like the mess hall, the barracks and japanese gardens.
a cemetary as well.
i was interested in reading more about the day to day life at manzanar. so i am reading, farewell to manzanar. it brought everything to life for me. imagining the confusion of being taken away from their homes, leaving all that they worked for behind. forced to live in harsh conditions but make the best of it. the japanese attitude of honor and going along with it to do what was best for themselves and the country. "shikata ga nai", it must be done, it cannot be helped.
i'm so glad we had a chance to stop and visit this place. it was something that brought tears and made an impression on all of us.