In recent days, the National Park Service began work on restoring and painting the cemetery monument at Manzanar National Historic Site, and they shared photos of their work, now completed.
The famous white obelisk, the Soul Consoling Tower, is one of the few remaining structures from the Manzanar concentration camp and the cemetery it marks is where the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage is held each year on the last Saturday in April.
To view the photos of the work as it progressed, click on any of images below to view a larger version, and to click through the gallery.
LEAD PHOTO courtesy National Park Service.
Manzanar Cemetery Monument Restoration/Painting 2014 – Manzanar National Historic Site
18 photos; All photos courtesy National Park Service
The Manzanar Committee’s Official web site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. You may copy, distribute and/or transmit any story or audio content published on this site under the terms of this license, but only if proper attribution is indicated. The full name of the author and a link back to the original article on this site are required. Photographs, graphic images, and other content not specified are subject to additional restrictions. Additional information is available at: Manzanar Committee Official web site – Licensing and Copyright Information.
In the early 1970s, my late wife Nadine and I decided to stop and see what was left of the former concentration camp at Manzanar, on a long drive up highway 395 and connecting roads through eastern Oregon and Washington, to a conference of historians in British Columbia. We left Los Angeles after midnight and arrived at what we thought was the site just before sunrise. As we drove through the brush toward the white obelisk that marked the cemetery, we came upon a dozen pickup trucks parked around the obelisk. The 20-30 scruffy old men and teenagers were apparently hunters, and they were testing their guns and practicing their marksmanship by firing at the obelisk. All its sides were pock-marked by large and small caliber shells.
As I turned our old VW Beetle around and gunned the engine, our tires got stuck in the sand. After what seemed a long time, a dozen hunters came over and pushed our car free. One teenager turned out to be a young woman, and she shared a welcome cup of hot coffee. In the meantime, some hunters continued to fire their guns at the obelisk until someone shouted for them to stop. The sun began to rise, but before the hunters departed they asked if we knew what had happened at the site and why was there this strange obelisk with “Oriental inscriptions?” When we told them it was a memorial site from World War II, not one of them seemed to know what we were alluding to, and we jumped into our car and headed back to the main road to continue our journey north.
Query: During the recent restoration, were there any new pock marks on the obelisk?
Emeritus Professor of History, CSU Dominguez Hills
Good question. We’ll have to ask.
Thanks for the update and great photos. I did not notice any cars in the photos. Just a friendly suggestion that for the next pilgrimage, vehicles not be allowed to the west of the monument, so as to allow better photo ops. If we don’t care for solar farms in the view shed, to be consistent we should avoid cars in the sacred view from the monument to the mountains. Perhaps this has already been brought up with event planners. I went to the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and it was a powerfully moving experience. When I went for the 45th, there was a huge American Airlines’ event sponsor banner hanging the width of the bridge over the roadway – very ugly, and probably won’t happen again. (The 50th is next March. Our friend Rev. Paul Nakamura was there for the final march to the Capitol in 1965.)