On February 19th, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order that allowed the U.S. military to relocate American citizens of Japanese descent to internment camps. 120,000 Japanese-Americans were held in camps throughout the country.
Manzanar, located outside Lone Pine, California, was one such camp. It has since been turned into a historical site and educational center. Because I visit the area often, I’ve visited Manzanar on several occasions and am always humbled by the experience. This is not distant history. There are plenty still living who lived through it.
These are some of my photos from my recent visit.
We cannot allow ourselves to forget, to color our history in sepia-toned nostalgia and wipe away the experiences of 120,000 American citizens who were betrayed by the government they pledged allegiance to. Presidents Day is as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the atrocities carried out by our past leaders. If we refuse to acknowledge them, we’re doomed to repeat them.