A week ago I asked if anyone knew this little memorial in the city of big monuments. Someone at work came up and correctly told me she knew what and where it was (barely a stone's throw from Union Station) but no one else showed any knowledge of it. Too bad, because it's a serene, beautiful little park, made poignant by the injustice it depicts.
Amidst the hysteria that followed the surprise bombing of our Pacific fleet by the Japanese on December 7, 1941, many or most Japanese Americans on the west coast were rounded up and interned for the rest of the war in concentration camps scattered about the western part of the country. These Americans suffered incredible hardships, and many lost all they had worked so hard for. Yet their sons, brothers, fathers or husbands volunteered in droves to fight for America, and the Nisei unit comprised of these men earned distinction for their uncommon heroism in combat and suffered horrendous casualties fighting against the Nazis in Italy, France and Germany.
The Japanese American Memorial is a tiny little park, bordered by cherry blossom trees symbolizing the delicate and ephemeral nature of life, with the centerpiece being two cranes restrained by barbed wire, struggling to free themselves. The walls surrounding them have the names of the "relocation camps" with the number of internees at each place carved into them.
It is a magnificent memorial and I love going there. Every December 7th and Memorial Day this small park is a mandatory stop on my run that day.