Farewell to Manzanar


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  • We watched until the boats became a row of tiny white gulls on the horizon. Our vigil would end when they slipped over the edge and disappeared.
  • But this time they didn't disappear. They kept floating out there suspended, as if the horizon had finally become what it always seemed to be from shore: the sea's limit, beyond which no man could sail. They floated awhile, then they began to grow, tiny gulls becoming boats again, a white armada cruising toward us."They're coming back," my mother said.
  • "Why would they be coming back?" Chizu said.               "Something with the engine."                                                         "Maybe somebody got hurt."                                                         "But they wouldn't all come back," Mama said, bewildered,
  • A fellow from the cannery came running down to the wharf shouting that the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor.
  • Mama yelled at him, "What is Pearl Harbor?" But he was running along the docks,like Paul Revere, bringing the news,and didn't have time to explain.
  • That night Papa burned the flag he had brought with him from Hiroshima thirty-five years earlier. It was such a beautiful piece of material, I couldn't believe he was doing that. He burned a lot of papers too, documents, anything that might suggest he still had some connection with Japan.
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