On the trip the other week, we hadn’t planned on stopping here, but when I saw the sign on the side of Hwy 395, neither of us could resist.

If you’re not familiar with the name, Manzanar was the site of a large internment camp used during World War II to house Japanese-Americans, who were kept in such camps “for their protection.”

Which was a euphemistic way of saying, they weren’t trusted since we were at war with Japan, so let’s lock them all up and make up a BS reason for it so we can excuse the fact that we’re being assholes.

Because if it really was for their safety, there wouldn’t have been this:

Guard Tower at Manzanar
Guard Tower at Manzanar

There’s really not a lot left at Manzanar these days.  Most of what would have housed the folks who were there was canvas tents, which for obvious reasons were not meant to last 70 years.  There is an admin building, and a lot of signs denoting what was where back when (housing, church, Buddhist temple, garden, etc), but most of what’s left is the landscape itself

Mt Willliamson from Manzanar
Mt Willliamson from Manzanar

However, one of the most powerful things left standing is the cemetery.  After all, with a few years spent there, there were people who died – nature does take its course, no matter where you are.

Below are a pair of images – one of the memorial marker, and one of a beautiful (something – no idea what it really is) left for the departed.  A sad place, to be sure, but a hauntingly beautiful one nonetheless.

Memorial Marker at Mazanar Cemetery
Memorial Marker at Mazanar Cemetery
Manzanar Cemetery
Manzanar Cemetery

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