By Airman William Tracy
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
The Schriever community reflected on the trials and sacrifice inflicted to individuals from the Holocaust during a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony Tuesday at the indoor running track.
The event’s guest speaker, Joe Charnes, a Colorado Springs lecturer in Jewish thought, addressed the audience. He warned a tragedy like the Holocaust could happen again, unless humans learn to accept one another.
“So many people had their dignity, their honor and their lives taken, simply for existing. That’s the foundation for all genocides. Hatred of another. Fear of another,” said Charnes. “We have one small place in this world where if we can influence just one person with a dignity of otherness, these events will not happen. I refuse to surrender my belief that one day inhumanity will cease.”
Chaplain (Capt.) Jennifer Ray, Schriever chaplain and chief organizer of the event, furthered the message of tolerance and the event’s importance for the Schriever community.
“This event is a way for us as a community to come together and remember this tragedy and do our part to make sure that this doesn’t happen for future generations,” said Ray. “To stress that it is important to remember these people’s lives-they were brothers, sisters, husbands and wives, and the stories behind them.”
A small fragment of the lives affected was highlighted with an audience exercise, in which the audience sat in separate segments, each assigned a color that was attributed to a victim of the Holocaust-victims such as Eva Mozes Kor and Hana Brady, individuals whose stories are widely circulated and published, and whose fates serve as a stark reminder its cruelty.
Behind a black curtain was a “Holocaust museum”, a sober exhibit of photos from the era, with excerpts describing their context. Attendees walked through a line of these photos, reading the story behind each of the faces.
While the sobriety of the subject matter may have dampened the spirits of many in attendance, an uplifting message was consistently relayed throughout the event-never lose hope in human kindness.
In closing, Charnes was asked what “hope” means to him.
“The Hebrew word for hope means tether, as in it literally means ‘rope,’ because ultimately it is all we have to hang onto in this world,” said Charnes. “Without hope we are lost. Hope must be directed towards life, to enhancing the lives of those around you. We have to focus our hope on life, on the valor and honor of being different, so this doesn’t happen again.”