Monday, April 28, 2014

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today we stood in silence to recognize and remember the voices that ceased to whisper, the memories that refuse to fade, and the people who took a stand and fought for life and freedom from inside the walls of the Warsaw Ghetto. It is a difficult day to describe in words making the acts of this day that much more important. Even now, having been able to reflect throughout the day trying to pull my thoughts together and having written about this in the past, I am struggling to string the words together to form this simple post.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this day The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum summarizes this somber anniversary in the following way:

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah. When the actual date of Yom Hashoah falls on a Friday, the state of Israel observes Yom Hashoah on the preceding Thursday. When it falls on a Sunday, Yom Hashoah is observed on the following Monday.

There is no set list of rules or means of observance for the general public and eve the means of observance in the Jewish community outside of Israel varies. However, in Israel, it is a national memorial day and public holiday. And while many in the United States have a certain perception when it comes to the term memorial day, this day is marked a little differently in Israel. In fact, there is a moment during the day that people outside of the holy land would find hard to believe as the Jewish State literally comes to a halt and honors this day in the best way that they can… in silence.

For me, today is one that I take a moment to appreciate all that I have and all that I have been given, large and small. On this day, as the hours pass, I grow increasingly grateful for the most overlooked gift which we are all given… life. It is that gift which we all have in common that makes us step back for a few moments and think about the ways that people embrace that gift living a loving and faithful life and those that use that gift to persecute others for the differences that they perceive in them. It is that dichotomy that forces us, at times, to fight for the freedom to live.

With the setting of the sun, the day came to an end and brought with it the dark of night that so many millions never escaped. But tonight we are grateful for the stars in the sky that will be only temporary and watch over us as we sleep. When we wake in the morning we will have the opportunity to once again embrace that precious gift that continues to both amaze and confuse us. We have another day to live and a life to fill with memories.