Hank Umemoto, a former Manzanar incarceree, and author of Manzanar To Mount Whitney: The Life and Times of a Lost Hiker, shares more thoughts on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, which would be built east of the Owens River, but in a direct line of sight from Manzanar National Historic Site.
The Manzanar Committee announced its opposition to the construction of the solar ranch near Manzanar on August 16, 2013. Our statement: Manzanar Committee Denounces LADWP Proposal To Build 1,200-Acre Solar Ranch Near Manzanar.
Former Manzanar incarceree Hank Umemoto, shown here speaking at the 44th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, April 27, 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee
by Hank Umemoto
Even after 72 years, I can vividly picture the magnificent expanse of bluish white reflection of the mid-morning sun dazzling amid the rusty color Inyo Mountain range in the backdrop that suddenly came alive at the gateway to Owens Valley. It was Owens Lake, but it was more than just a lake.
“Look,” mother said as she tugged on my arm. With a gleam in her eyes and a smile of exhilaration, she pointed at the lake. She had lost her life savings, was forcefully uprooted from her farm that she had toiled over thirty years, and was now being transported to a concentration camp in the Owens Valley called Manzanar. In the midst of gloom and despair, the spectacular vista of Owens Lake brought bliss and ecstasy to her, and perhaps to a millions more who were in similar distress.
This was May of 1942. Today, Owens Lake is just an oversize puddle, unquestionably an eyesore to millions who pass by the lake each year. It is truly a disaster caused not by natural elements. It was not an earthquake, and it was not a flood that caused such a calamity.
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