As a young adult, I first heard of Manzanar whispered from the lips of a Sansei (third-gen Japanese-American) pal in Santa Clara, CA. His parents would not discuss "the camps" - the forced incarceration of loyal American citizens of Japanese descent in desolate locations across the West like in Manzanar. My pal's sister B. Watkasuki exposed the episode soon after with her award-winning "Farewell to Manzanar" history book. On my first visit in 1974, I found only stone guard towers, a warehouse and a dismal, wind-blown cemetery at this site. Over the years since, volunteers, camp descendants and historians have steered government grants into finally erecting an appropriate interpretive center and self-guiding tours of the partially-restored vast camp's dusty acreage. President Reagan, on behalf of all decent Americans, officially apologized to the Japanese American community for the indignities imposed during World War II toward these good citizens. Take the time to read all the panels and hear the audios in the center. Drive (carefully) around the grounds to see how industrious the internees were in trying to make a home out of what many characterized as a "concentration camp" -- after all, there were armed guards. Particularly poignant are the memorials to loyal Japanese Americans who died fighting The Axis and fascism in the European Theatre of World War II. There are no services close by this Site, so carry snacks and bottled water. It can be windy, cold and hot all on the same day. Views of the Eastern Sierra, however, are spectacular.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.