26 April 2009
Days of Remembrance - Joint Base Balad, April 23 2009
I had the pleasure and honor to be part of this program. I was given a piece to read on the meaning of this year's theme "Never Again: What You Do Matters". It was compilied by the committee from state & federal proclamations and information from the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.
"The Holocaust was the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims - six million were murdered; the handicapped and Polish were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.
"The history of the Holocaust offers an opportunity to reflect on the moral responsibilities of individuals, societies, and governments; and we should always remember the terrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny, and we should actively rededicate ourselves to the principles of individual freedom in a just society;
"The Days of Remembrance have been set aside for the people of the United States to remember the victims of the Holocaust as well as to reflect on the need of respect of all peoples. Remebrance obligates us not only to memorialize those who were killed but also to reflect on what could have been done to save them. Those who survived tell us that as many faced their horrific deaths, their last words were "Remember us. Tell our story." Survivors promised that they would, and that never again would the world stand silent or look the other way.
"The Holocaust reminds us of the fragility of democracy and the need for citizens to be both well-informed and vigilant about the preservation of democratic ideals. An engaged citizenry that embraces the power of the individual to make a difference is the frontline defense for strong, just societies. What we do - or choose not to do - matters.