Eighth Army Soldiers attend Holocaust memorial observance
U.S. ARMY GARRISON YONGSAN, South Korea -- Members of the Eighth Army community gathered at U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan's South Post Chapel May 4 to pay respect to the millions who died during World War II's Holocaust during the Eighth Army Holocaust Remembrance Day Observance.
Hosted by the 65th Medical Brigade, the theme of the observance was "Learning from the Holocaust: Acts of Courage" and featured remarks by guest speaker Chaplain (Capt.) Joseph Messinger, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd ROK-U.S. Combined Division.
"The purpose of the Holocaust remembrance is to be aware of the suffering from the mistake that humanity made. However, the important thing is not just to remember what happened but to inherit a lesson from the horrible tragedy to our descendants so that we won't repeat it again," said Messinger. "If you allow yourself to experience and respect the sacred in other individuals, hatred, anger and jealousy will naturally subside."
Messinger said the Holocaust was the mass murder of about six million European Jews and members other persecuted groups by the German Nazi regime during the Second World War.
Each year, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum leads the Nation in recognizing the Days of Remembrance. The week-long observance, established in 1978, pays respect to the millions of Jewish and non-Jewish victims subjected to Nazi persecution before and during World War II. This year, it is commemorated from May 1-8, with May 5 officially marking Holocaust Remembrance Day.
This year's observance included lighting the memorial candles, watching a video regarding the stories of Holocaust victims and the guest speaker's speech.
According to the message published by Eighth Army Commander Lt. Gen. Thomas Vandal prior to the observance, the genocide of the Holocaust claimed the lives of millions of innocent people and revealed the extreme danger of tolerating ignorance, hate and aggression.
"While the Holocaust revealed the darkest side of human nature, it also gave us unforgettable stories of extraordinary human potential in the face of unbelievable hardship," Vandal wrote. "They are stories of sacrifice from those who had little to give and tremendous bravery in the dace of unspeakable evil. It is our responsibility to remember these stories."
Chaplain (Col.) Tom Wheatley, Eighth Army chaplain, said that one of the biggest lessons he received from this event was the resiliency through faith.
"Jewish people didn't lose their faith in their strength to overcome the atrocious hardship despite the suffering they had to go through," said Wheatley.
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