Sands of Manzanar



Masako and Spam Musubi


It wasn’t the deadly black sand that greeted the US Marines on Iwo Jima.

But as we stood on out on the desert, white powdery dust would swirl up in the softly blowing arid wind…  and I then realized it was upon this gawd-awful sand that my Aunt Shiz and Uncle John built their future for their family.

It was their Iwo Jima…  It was called the “Manzanar War Relocation Center” by our government back during World War II.

They were forced onto these forsaken sands by FDR in April of 1942 but made the most of it.  Quietly.  仕方が無い…  我慢.  Shikataganai and gaman.


FDR called it relocation centers.

It’s just my opinion but political correctness be damned.

It was a prison.  Complete with eight guard towers and soldiers manning .30 caliber Browning machine guns.  Barbed wire fencing all around.  No freedoms.  Chow at specific times.  Public toilets and…

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on November 8, 2014, in Home Front, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. In WWII, Canada also interned Japanese-Canadian citizens in concentration camps near cities like Edmonton after declaring War on Japan in 1941, and in support of our US allies also going to war against the same. That wasn’t the only ethnicity that our government became xenophobic against.

    Canada declared war on Germany in 1939, on Italy in 1940 and on Finland, Hungary and Romania in 1941. In all cases, Canadians of German, Italian, Finnish and Hungarian birth or descent were all rounded up from their homes, businesses and workplaces and interned in concentration camps out of suspicion that they’d aid the enemies. It didn’t matter if the citizens may have actually been against Hitler, Tojo, Hirohito, Mussolini, Tito, or anyone fascist.

    It was a shameful time in our history.


    • Ours too (and throw in the Native Americans & First Nation), I added in the previous posts about Canada having the internment camps, but I was unaware of the Finnish and Hungarians been imprisoned. Thanks for adding in this information, Allan Fear makes idiots of us, doesn’t it?


  2. So many horrors and atrocities by so many nations during WW2, and this is a shameful part of US History


  3. It is shameful the way Japanese-American’s were imprisoned during WW2…I think during such frightening times terrible things happen that defy common sense. thank you for this wonderful post…my grandfather was wounded at Iwo Jima, to this day has shrapnel in his


    • It’s ironic that FDR sent your grandfather out into the PTO to fight for the freedoms of others, but imprisoned his own citizens….a very shameful episode in our history! Thank you for reading and taking the to share with us, Hollie.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately Canada is guilty of the same.


    • Yes, unfortunately. I mentioned information on that in the previous post, “February 1942 (2).” Thank you for for stopping by to read Koji’s story of his family, Shelley.


  5. Thanks for the link to that site, truly remarkable, and the story of Toyo’s camera shows a very versatile man.
    I left the following comment.
    A very interesting and informative read, on a dark side of the treatment of American Japanese, it intrigues me in your statement,Manzanar internee Pfc Sadao Munemori – through his brave actions on the battlefield – was bestowed the Congressional Medal of Honor.
    How could a soldier who served, become an internee ? seems odd.
    Was interesting to read of Toyo’s camera, a very resilient man.


    • I can see where you became confused on that statement. He was originally an internee – then became a soldier. Many of the young men were enlisted out of the camps to go to Europe or the Intelligence school. I’m very glad you enjoyed this post, I think Koji did his family much honor with this post – well actually his whole site when you come down to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks gpcox on clarifying that statement, still its a bit of an enigma,they were not trusted enough on face value and had to be interned, then solicited for military service, seems like a case of brainwashing,no internee would voluntarily side with the perceived enemy to prove their loyalty, maybe just my mind is confused on the scenario.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kristina McMorris has written a magnificent novel, Bridge Of Scarlet Leaves, about this painful story in our nation’s history. Her novels of WWII are magnificently researched


  7. I passed by Manzanar many times on my way to Yosemite National Park. It always saddened me to see the austere and harshness of the Manzanar War Relocation Center. The very desolate conditions that the Japanese were forced to live in, through no fault of their own, still boggles my mind. I stopped one time, when I actually realized what I was about to pass by. It was extremely humbling, on so many levels.

    Koji’s tribute is heartfelt and heartwarming.


  8. Thanks for sharing this.


  9. What a incredible story. Have to agree with him about executive orders. Just read a book and although it’s fiction it recounts WW11 through a Dane eyes and what happen in Denmark.


  10. Dear God!…….


    • You’ve shared a wonderful story of your neighbor that shows beyond question the loyalty and bravery of the Japanese-American during WWII. I greatly appreciate your contribution to this portion of the site, Doug, Thank You.


  11. Koji does incredible honor to his family.


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