Saturday, May 02, 2009

Manzanar 2009 - Part 1

Well, this year we celebrated the 40th annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, 210 miles from Los Angeles, the site where 10,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans were incarcerated during WW2. By my finger count, it is only my 16th pilgrimage, coming almost every year since 1992. It was actually Maiya's 4th time, which is a lot considering that she's 4 years old. It started out pretty cold and windy, but then warmed up a bit in the afternoon. Here's a few of the 100 pictures we took.
Arriving early, we take a family photo.
Excited that Skyler Mariko came up on the bus with her family!
When you're 4, you bring a shovel and pail to collect rocks.
For the pilgrimage, we estimated about 1,500 people this year, and about 14 buses. I acted as stage manager again this year. Things seemed more laid back this year and ran more smoothly than in the past.
When you run the stage, you can get your family to hold the Gila River banner, an honor, in honor of Maiya's grandpa Walt's family. The original signs were contributed by each of the 10 camps back around the year 2000. In 2004, they were placed in the Manzanar Interpretive Center. The flags below are reproductions of the originals, and used for the first time in 5 years.
I'm sorry that Tony and others had to hold the flag in the wind for over an hour at the Interfaith portion of the program. But it was cool because Kaz' parents were part of the Interfaith service for the first time.
It was so fun to visit with Kaz. I think Kaz was there for the first camping trips for Manzanar After Dark (MAD-ness!) back in 1997 and 1998. Baby Gavin slept through most of the odori dancing.
Maiya and Skyler were eating fruits behind the stage and playing in the sand so they missed the dancing. When the dancing was over, the girls were done with the day.
Another pilgrimage program finished! See you in '10!

Still to come, photos of the newly restored Mess Hall, swimming at the Dow Villa pool with Daddy, and the Manzanar at Dusk program.

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