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Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:42 am

Manzanar, it means “Apple orchard” in Spanish. It once was an apple orchard.

On February 19, 1942, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which authorized military commanders to prescribe military areas and to exclude "any or all persons" from such areas. The order also authorized the construction of what would later be called "relocation centers" to house those who were to be excluded. This order resulted in the forced relocation of over 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of whom were native-born American citizens. Over 110,000 were incarcerated in the ten concentration camps located far inland and away from the coast.

Not one of these people was ever convicted of espionage or sabotage.

Yes, you got that right. American citizens were rounded up and tossed into concentration camps. It happened 72 years ago.

Manzanar, located in the Owens Valley just north of the town of Lone Pine, was identified by the United States National Park Service as the best-preserved of the former camp sites, and is now the Manzanar National Historic Site, which preserves and interprets the legacy of Japanese American incarceration in the United States.

1 Historic Landmark.JPG
It looks like this marker has been subjected to some vandalism.

The next time you plan on being in the area you need to schedule time to visit this site. Don’t say, “Someday I’ll visit” like I have been doing for a while. Just go there. Every American needs to experience this important history lesson.

There is a 3.2 mile self-guided driving tour. Twenty-seven numbered sign post identify specific sites.

2 War Relocation Center Sign.JPG

3 Barracks.JPG

4 Arai Fish Pond.JPG

Sport, being an ER RN, expressed interest in the medical facilities.

5 Nurse's QTR'S.JPG

6 Hospital Complex.JPG

7 Hospital Garden.JPG

146 incarcerates died in this concentration camp. Fifteen incarcerates were buried there, but only five graves remain, as most were later reburied elsewhere by their families.

8 Cemetary.JPG

The visitor Center is open 9 AM to 5:30 PM daily.

9 Visitor Center.JPG

There are many exhibits inside the Visitor Center among them a model of the camp.

10 Model City.JPG

To be continued…
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway

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Re: Manzanar

Postby Vaca Russ » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:52 am

Here is an original picture of the camp.

11 Camp Picture.JPG

Sport was interested in the health care aspects of this concentration camp.

12 Health Care Display.JPG

There hung a banner from the ceiling with the names of all incarcerates.

13 Name Banner.JPG

There was also a logbook of their names, gender, date of birth and other information.

14 Name Log.JPG

I was interested in the military aspect of camp life. There was a big controversy over a questionnaire the detainees had complete. One question became known as the infamous question #27, “Are you willing to serve in the armed forces of the United States on combat duty, wherever ordered?”

Another question, #28 was also controversial. “Will you swear unqualified allegiance to the United States of America and faithfully defend the United States from any of all attack by foreign or domestic forces, and foreswear any form of allegiance or obedience to the Japanese emperor, or any other form of government, power or organization?”

It turns out 1,028 young men from all ten camps volunteered to serve in the armed forces! Can you believe that! Their mothers and sisters were locked up in concentration camps and they volunteered to serve!

Two military units were formed. The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were made up exclusively by Japanese American men. They were combined in Italy in June of 1944.

This military unit is legendary for its bravery in battle. In two years of near-constant combat with tough-as-nails opponents the 12,000 men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. The 4,000 men who initially came in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, earning 9,486 Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (5 earned in one month). Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor. Members of the 442nd received 18,143 awards.

14a HWY Sign.JPG

One example of the heroics of the men in this unit is Senator Daniel K. Inouye. You, like I, might remember Senator Inouye as the humble senator from Hawaii who would nap as the Senate was in session. This gentleman deserved his rest. Just read what these guys wrote about the day he lost his arm battling the Nazis.

In addition to the 100th and the 442nd there was the Top Secret Military Intelligence Service.

15 MIS Members.JPG

16 MIS Photo.JPG

“You fought not only the enemy, but you fought prejudice – and you won.” President Harry S. Truman, greeting 100th / 442nd soldiers at the White House, July 1946.

I could go on and on about the heroics of the Japanese American fighting men, but I have a report to finish. :)

We Americans can take pride in the fighting acumen of these Americans but we should be shamed by this historic injustice. The part that bothers me the most is that we locked up innocent children.

17 Childrens Center.JPG

I try very hard not to express my political views on this board, but the thought of tossing innocent American children into concentration camps is enough to cause a rant. Please bear with me.

:soapbox: :soapbox: :soapbox: :soapbox: :soapbox:

What were we thinking? To be sure part of it was racism.

18 Racist Sign.JPG

Considering both the executive and legislative branches of the federal government was controlled by the most racist political party in the history of this country.

Three United States Supreme Court cases: Minoru Yasui v. United States, Hirabayashi v. United States and Korematsu v. United States were heard by the Supreme Court.
The highest court in the land ruled the confinements were a “military necessity”.

Four decades later, the luck of Korematsu, Yasui and Hirabayashi changed when legal historian Peter Irons stumbled upon evidence that government officials had withheld several documents from the Supreme Court stating that Japanese Americans posed no military threat to the United States.

I have also heard that the internment of these Americans economically benefitted some Anglo Americans. Follow the money.

But why did “regular” Americans tolerate this injustice? I think it was because of a phenomenon called “Group Think”. We humans are tribal animals who are predisposed to follow our leadership. This has been programmed into our DNA over eons. It is often times difficult our even dangerous to question authority.

“They” say “It is needed”.

“They” say, “We are at war”.

“They” say “It is a military necessity”.

“They” are in charge.

“They” know best.

In this country we don’t have a king or a queen to fill in the role of “They”. We have a Constitution.

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty of safety.” -Benjamin Franklin

The founding fathers of this nation understood we need a Constitution to protect us from the injustices brought upon us by the government.

The commission on the Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded: “Executive order 9066 was not justified by military necessity…the broad historical causes that shaped these decisions were race prejudice, war hysteria and a failure of political leadership.”

At the heart of the experience lies the U.S. Constitution and the rights and protections it promises all Americans.

In addition to guaranteeing the rights of citizenship to all who are born in America, the Fourteenth Amendment states, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”

It is the duty of every American to obey the Constitution.

“The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their Constitutions of Government. But the Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish Government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established Government.”

-George Washington’s Farwell address

We owe it to the men and women of the armed forces who have served this great country since 1775 to vigilantly rebel against all abuses and usurpations of power by our government. Many of them have given all to ensure we have our freedom. I hope learning about Manzanar reminds us it takes courage to stand up for what is right.

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man rejected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” -Clarence Darrow

“We should never have moved the Japanese from their homes and their world. It was un-American, unconstitutional and un-Christian.” -Francis R. Biddle, U.S. Attorney General, 1944

20 Guard Tower.JPG

The only thing guaranteeing our Constitutional rights is the eternal vigilance of America’s citizens.

Thanks for suffering through my political diatribe.

” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Manzanar

Postby Jimr » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:03 am

"It is the duty of every American to obey the Constitution."

and protect it. I'll leave it there.
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Re: Manzanar

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jul 09, 2014 10:53 am

Russ, Thanks for posting this. I have not visited Manzanar since they refurbished it (I was last there in 1996, I recall). I will drop by there the next time I'm in that part of Owens Valley. Interesting typo with that one family name (reversing the H and S). My relatives bearing that name (ie father and his family) were on the other side of the Pacific trying not to get fried in air raids or buried by rubble in earthquakes (at ground zero for M8.3 earthquake in Dec. 1944), whereas my mother's family was interned in Idaho (Minidoka).
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html
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Re: Manzanar

Postby old and slow » Wed Jul 09, 2014 11:26 am

Russ, thanks for posting this valuable and still relevant history lesson (not too mention the nice photos). My wife and I hiked through a section of the grounds last July, it was a profoundly humbling experience --unfortunately, the driving tour was closed that day due to flooding damage from a severe summer rainstorm and we had arrived before the Visitor Center opened at 9 am. Anyway, it gives us a good reason to go back. Thanks again.
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