|View of Heart Mountain from Japanese Internment Camp|
|Exhibit at the new Heart Mountain|
Interpretive Learning Center
I was heartened to hear the speeches given by these men, but nothing had more of an impact on me than just being there. Although Cody, Wyoming is one of the gates to Yellowstone, in August, it is sun scorched and burnt yellow. It's desolate. I've heard it's that way in the winter too, just whiter and colder. I imagined what it would have been like to be herded onto a train, and then after a 3 day ride with the shades drawn, walk out onto the platform to see Heart Mountain. I imagined what it would have been like to be fenced in with Heart Mountain looming in the distance. I imagined what it would have been like to live in a tar papered barrack with my small children during the fierce Wyoming winter.
I doubt my grandfather or grandmother ever climbed Heart Mountain. While they were interned, I'm sure they had other things weighing on their mind, like whether a Stanford degree would ever be useful in their world, what might they would do if they were ever released, or whether they really were second-rate citizens. And on top of that, there were the barbed wire fence and machine gun towers. I suppose those would have impeded a run to Heart Mountain.
So it was with a sense of gratitude that I ran up to the top of Heart Mountain. Yet, I suppose there was also a sense of confusion. Why is it that I am able to run free, but others cannot? And at the same time, I was saddened; sad because my grandfather was unable to express the kind of freedom I feel running, unimpeded to the top of a mountain.
I will never know endurance and suffering like my grandparents knew it. But I know that without it, I will not be complete.
|L to R: me, White Brother Mark, Brother Aaron, Uncle Roman, White Brother Danny|
Because of a jam-packed day, our only opportunity to run Heart Mountain did not come until it was dark.