'Never Again' theme for Remembrance Day

  • Published
  • By Capt. Maxwell Bassman
  • 10th Missile Squadron
May 8 will mark the 64th anniversary of the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. It also marks the anniversary of the end of the systematic torture and killing we know as the Holocaust. 

More than 12 million Europeans fell victim to the Nazis and their war machine. I am sure most people who read this article have heard of the brutal atrocities committed by the Nazis as they left Europe in shambles and are aware of the fact the Nazis made exterminating the Jews part of their political and military agenda. The Nazis practiced textbook genocide seeking to eliminate not only Jews, but anyone who didn't fit Hitler's political, cultural or racial profile. 

Knowing everything that I just mentioned, it would seem logical the human race has learned its painful lesson on genocide. History has given us an opportunity to see itself at its darkest and hope it would turn away and say, "never again." This lesson was taught to us so that we could learn what to identify within ourselves so that we would never treat our fellow man with such hatred ever again. The part that most people don't know is some people have taken this history lesson and learned the opposite. 

I am sure at some point each one of us has said to ourselves when learning of the Holocaust, "How horrible. I am sure glad this couldn't happen now." But the unfortunate reality is that genocide still occurs. Hatred still exists to the point that one person or group of people would seek to wipe another group of people off the face of the Earth for good. 

In the last 20 years, Rwanda, Bosnia and Sudan have all seen genocide. In the Darfur region of Sudan, it is happening right now. As you sit at your desk or on your couch at home, there are people out there deliberately and systematically killing other groups of people for no other reason than who they are. These are the people who learned the lesson of the Holocaust, but learned a lesson on how to bring out the darkest side of humanity. Whether it be power, wealth or greed that drives them to do it, they are still out there, taking the lives of innocent people just like you or me. 

April 21, we will observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Hashoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. This isn't just a Jewish day of remembrance, rather it is a day of remembrance for all of us to recognize. The theme for this year's observance is, "Never Again," meaning we observe this day and remember the incredible acts of hatred that led to the millions of deaths so it doesn't happen again. It is a day to think about the hate that still happens in our world and do what we can to put an end to it. 

During this week, Malmstrom will recognize these Days of Remembrance. We have obtained a modest exhibit from the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center featuring pictures of everyday artifacts from survivors and victims of the Holocaust. In addition we have created a display of poster boards depicting the events leading up to, during and after the Holocaust, which will be on display at the Base Chapel during the week. Table tents will be placed in common areas with the stories of individuals whose lives were affected in one way or another by the Holocaust. Lastly, the movie, "Hotel Rwanda" will be shown at the base theater. 

Our intention is that you see the table tents, poster boards, exhibit and/or movie and think about how absolutely horrible one group of people was to another based solely on their religion, culture and politics and think to yourself this simply can't happen again. Twelve million people did not die in vain. Our goal is simply awareness. Awareness creates the ability for people to learn and not to repeat mistakes made by previous generations. Awareness allows us to be cognizant of the plight of our fellow man and if nothing else empathize with him and do what we can to ease that burden and fight that evil. 

Take part in our observance, look at these artifacts and watch the movie, And leave saying to yourself, "Never Again."

Schedule of events: 
Artifacts presentation will be located at the following:
April 20, building 500 main lobby near the elevators, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
April 21, Clinic lobby near the pharmacy, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April 22, Fitness Center lobby near front desk, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
April 23, building 1191 lobby, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
April 24, Elkhorn dining facility main entrance, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Free showing of the movie, "Hotel Rwanda," at the base theater April 24 starting at 7 p.m.