Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bustos in Charge

I had every intention of posting a second of probably many about Heart Mountain. This is that but with a twist. On the day before the pilgrimage festivities which were to honor internees who had fought in World War Two I was casing the joint and while doing so met a burly gentleman of a certain age who asked why I was photographing the camp. I told him that I was at Heart Mountain to attend the pilgrimage, that I had a deep interest in the topic of camps and hoped I could capture the spirit of the occasion.

John Bustos of nearby Powell was quite a talker and not much of listener but impressive in a drill sergeant sort of way. John had done 27 years in this man’s Army, another 20 or so working for some energy outfit and now had found his calling heading up the local honor guard. He would be commanding the next day’s salute to the 800 Japanese Americans from Heart Mountain who had fought in the war despite their unlawful imprisonment.

So this post is kind of a sidebar to the real story of Heart Mountain but a good one I think.

The guy you see here, the son of an immigrant Mexican mother, still packing 200 pounds of muscle on a 5’7” frame boasted of 75 years on planet earth and by my reckoning could still lead a platoon in Viet Nam as he had in the sixties. Impressive guy.  Great teeth and skin.  But with politics to the right of Attila the Hun. Said there was one live round in the volleys to be fired during the ceremony. That one was reserved for Obama.  Told me twice. It was that funny I guess.