A thousand ways to remember
(1000 origami cranes at Manzanar National Historic Site)
It’s one of the things that makes us human beings. Our ability to mend. To attach a little bit of beauty to the unpleasant. In 1942, an abandoned little mining town in Manzanar, California became home to over 100,000 Japanese Americans that were uprooted from their homes and businesses and placed there for the remainder of World War II. You can read about it, it was cruel. Manzanar is a barren place on the road to Mammoth Mountain before the town of Bishop. In the 3 years they were there, it was transformed into a community with Japanese gardens, rows of veggies and a dance hall. The people celebrated, sang, educated themselves, painted and lived. What impressed me most was that they never stopped living and at the same time, they never forgot. They all wanted to get back to the lives they had created for themselves before things were torn apart. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about tragedy and sorrow and how we deal with it. There are examples all over the place. It’s fascinating, really. It’s the human spirit at it’s best. We were born to be alive!
(Pleasure park 1943)
(Black and white photos of Manzanar imprisonment camp taken in 1943 by Ansel Adams)
The unearthed Japanese garden at Pleasure Park in Manzanar encampment.