Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Bill to Preserve Internment Camps Passes Congress

Yesterday the House passed a bill, previously approved by the Senate, to preserve World War II internment camps. According to the New York Times:
World War II internment camps for Japanese-Americans will be preserved as reminders of how the United States treated some citizens in wartime. The Republican-led Congress sent President Bush on Tuesday a bill for $38 million in National Park Service grants to restore and pay for research at 10 camps. For the rest, go here.

Years ago I visited the site of Manzanar, in the Owens Valley in California. It was hard to find the site. The signposts stood by the roadside, but without the sign to mark the site. A few scattered stone structures stood, and there were remnants of stone foundations, but the wooden structures were gone. If was if the memory of Manzanar had been wiped from the plain, and to find it, you had to scratch the surface of the earth.

I took my daughter, who was six, by the hand, and we walked around the outlines made by the stones. We tried to imagine where the families would have lived, and the children would have played.

Manzanar is now less difficult to imagine. It has since become a National Park Service National Historic Site, complete with an interpretive center and ranger programs. See this website.

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