Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho
On our epic road trip of the USA, of which we have just figured out we are on day #217, we have a made a lot of quick stops. Few have been as impactful as this one. The Minidoka National Historic Site is located between Twin Falls and Jerome, Idaho. You can spend several hours here if you have the time, reading the signs and walking the trail that takes you around the park. Bring snacks and water because there are no services and currently no Visitors Center on site, they did have a port-a-potty.
The Minidoka National Historic Site is the site of one of the many Japanese interment camp's that popped up around the western United States after the executive order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed in 1942. As a response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor Japanese-Americans, many of which were citizens, were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to camps. The NPS is very careful not to call them interment camp's, but lets call a spade a spade. They do include this quote on one of the information boards at the park,
"My first impression of Minidoka was a vast desolate waste land with barracks... Soldiers were posted with rifles pointed inside the camp."
Mariagnes Aya Uenishi Medrud
I personally found the word "inside" incredibly real and heartbreaking. These were citizens of the United States; hardworking members of our communities.
The Honor Roll board names Japanese-Americans who fought in WWII. Many of these soldiers fought and died for their country while their families were forced into camps.
The park mentions that most of the fencing has been removed so you don't get the full sense of just how restrictive these camps really were. It was creepily retro that they have a baseball field on site. The bottom line is this wasn't their home and they weren't allowed to move their own things here. The people who were forced to leave their lives lost everything. Children, women, men. Japanese heritage need be the only strike against one's character to allow the Federal government to take everything.