Thursday, November 11, 2010
Never forget. We say those words, but do we really mean them? It's 11:30pm here, and I find myself wondering how many people thought of this as more than just a day off school, or just another work day. How many people paused today, at 11:11am or at any other time, to REMEMBER? I don't mean passing around a FaceBook flag or forwarding an email about veterans. How many of you actually stopped and thought about the people who have fought and died for you?
A few minutes ago, I closed out the larger part of my day by listening to a bugler play Taps. As the haunting tones of it went over me, I closed my eyes, and I prayed. I spoke silent words of thanks to those who gave their lives so that I could be free today. I prayed for those who currently put their bodies between mine and death, whether they (or I) agree with their orders or not.
I prayed for the souls of those men who were the first to walk into Auschwitz and see the emaciated bodies of the Jews there, and who were forced to lock those same suffering Jews back into the camp to keep them from eating too much food and killing themselves. Can you imagine it? If you can't, maybe you should watch it (note: this is not for the unprepared, and do not show it to young children without supervision). It's uncomfortable. It's horrific. But you know what? If we don't REMEMBER it, we're doomed to repeat it.
My grandfathers both fought in WWII. My Scottish grandfather, Alexander Davidson, fought for the Scottish Army and for the Allies. He was captured very early in the war, and put into a prison camp. Luckily he was treated well, considering, and he survived the experience. Still, he would never talk about it. He simply could not. My Hungarian grandfather, John Szabo Sr., fought for the Hungarians and for the Communists. He was given no choice. One day, the arrived at his home and told him he was conscripted, and they handed him a rifle and put him in line with everyone else. He escaped after an Allied attack that left everyone in his company dead. He hid under the dead and decaying bodies for several days until the Allies left and he could crawl out. That is all he would tell me when I asked him, and even that was so painful that he cried when he spoke of it.
I don't want to remember these horrible things. I HAVE TO, though. If I forget, then who would teach my children? Who would show them that these horrors were wrought upon human beings? Who would explain to them that it started so small... just a little yellow star... just a setting aside of one particular type of human...
Please... if you missed Nov. 11th as a time of remembrance, it isn't too late. It's possible to remember any time, after all. Take the time now. Remember. Remember the horror, so that we never have to see it again. Because I'd much rather remember that this happened in the past, long LONG ago, than be terrified of it happening now, or watching it happen tomorrow.