Colorado Once Home To A Japanese Internment Camp
During World War Two, the Japanese living in America were placed in internment camps in order for Americans to feel safer. A little-known fact, but Colorado was home to one of those camps.
Located in the southeastern Colorado town of Granada was what was known as the Amache Japanese-American Relocation Center -- better known simply as Amache. For a brief period, it was the tenth largest city in the state, population wise. What precipitated this move was Executive Order 9066.
It was a time of hysteria in the United States. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and the nation was at war. People were suspicious of anyone of Japanese descent, and the military was given the power to ban anyone of Japanese ancestry from the coastline along California, Oregon, and Washington. Half of those detained were children.
Included in the detainee list was a cartoonist who worked with Walt Disney and a medal of honor winner who served in the US Army.
Those detained tried to live life as normally as they could in a camp surrounded by barbed wire and military personnel. But life would not return to anything resembling normal until the war with Japan ended.
The camp was closed on October 15, 1945, and was largely forgotten until it appeared in the US National Registry of Historical Places.
Today, nothing remains of the camp except signs and some concrete floors. A cemetery remains for those who died while in the camp. A special monument to the 31 Japanese Americans who volunteered for service while in the camp, and later died during the war is there as well.
Finding the camp is a challenge unless you're looking for it. There are no souvenir shops, no bright shiny buildings and smiling happy people. It's a place for quiet reflection.
And the hope that this sort of thing never happens again.