Manzanar is one of ten 'relocation centers' built for people of Japanese heritage after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when prejudice against Japanese Americans was high, and good ideas were hard to come by. 120,000 people were forced to sell their things for practically nothing and sent to live in confined areas such as Manzanar. They were told it was for their protection, due to the increased prejudice, but really the government was fearful of sabotage and espionage by Japanese Americans.
Manzanar housed 10,000 people of all ages. They spent three years in the Owens Valley, living their lives as normal as possible, wondering if they would ever leave. They had everything they could possibly need; churches, a hospital, gardens, a fire department, a school, a police station, a newspaper... everything except freedom.
The kitchen and dining area have screens with photographs of Manzanar internees, memories of their lives here remain for future generations to witness, and try to comprehend.
The colorful origami cranes in the cemetery are a statement that the people who lived and died here will not be forgotten.