Saturday, October 18, 2008

Manzanar

Over the years, I've had many an occasion to drive the length of the Owens Valley stretch of US Highway 395. While I'd always admired the scenery and geographic diversity of the region, the highway and its surroundings were always 'a means to an end', if you will. A conduit.
On my last trip up 395, I made a purposeful stop along the way. At Manzanar.
I had read about it as a child and knew it's significance and place in American and, more notably, Japanese-American history. I had always been disturbed by it's purpose and presence. To spare a history essay... to me it stood as a reminder of man's inhumanity to man.

While there's not much to see at the current Manzanar 'Historical Landmark', what's important is what isn't seen. But rather what is felt or even sensed.
There is a stark and awesome feeling to the place. If you take the time to travel to the 'back' of the square mile monument, you come across the cemetery and it's obelisk.
Amongst the stark high desert landscape, dry wind, towering mountains and eerie silence... I was humbled and touched.




Mt. Williamson (14,381') stands sentinel




It reads:
"Monument to console the souls of the dead."




Those who would pay homage to Manzanar's dead attach origami to
posts surrounding the obelisk.




Coins are also left in tribute and honor.




Infants were not untouched by hate.




Testament.




It reads:
"Erected by the Manzanar Japanese, August 1943."


mountains turn to dust
wind becomes still and silent
ere these souls forget

G. Wilson

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2 Comments:

Blogger The Eye said...

Superb post, Grant. Really captures the feeling of the place. I particularly liked your haiku at the end.

2:38 PM  
OpenID Daryl said...

Great post Grant! I really feel enjoyed your narratives. I also agree with The Eye, you really captured the feeling of this place.

7:45 AM  

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