Days of Remembrance, April 18 - April 25
Benjamin Meed, Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
April 22, 2004, The Capitol Rotunda, Washington, D.C.
Justice Ginsburg, Professor Elie Wiesel, Members of Congress, United States Holocaust Memorial Council, distinguished guests, and fellow survivors:
We are gathered here to remember our loved ones, to recall their, pain, their struggle, their death.
Today, we recall the Hungarian Jews, one of the last Jewish Communities, which were destroyed. It took many years to build these communities, but the German Nazis managed to murder them in a very short time, in horrific ways.
Our legacy is the final wish left to us by the six million we honor today: Zachor! Remember.
When Congress created the Holocaust Memorial Council in 1980, very few Yom Hashoah observances were held in this country. Today, our legacy is nationwide. Days of Remembrance commemorations are now held in all 50 states. Today, the Museum we survivors helped to create is a destination for millions from around the world. As a survivor, I also want to express my gratitude to the Museum’s Founders and activists who have been instrumental in the extraordinary accomplishment of its first decade.
Last fall, we survivors joined with our children, and our grandchildren. 7,000 of us in all - for a reunion of a very special family. The Museum hosted a remarkable gathering - A Tribute to Survivors. On that day, we passed our precious torch of memory to the next generation. We stood with our loved ones to mark the 10th Anniversary of this permanent living memorial to the Holocaust, which will remain long after we have gone. It is our voice. It will continue to tell and retell our story...
Today, new anti-Semitic acts in Europe and the Islamic world, reminds us sadly that our work is far from over.
As we contemplate our future, we think about anti-Semitism. We think about terrorism and violence. We find ourselves again in a world at war. In a world, where madmen would threaten the American and Jewish people, and their followers would eagerly be ready to kill. We think about the security of the State of Israel – the homeland we dreamed of when we were suffering and dying.
Our message is the final wish left to us by those who cannot speak anymore, we honor them all today: Zachor! Remember, never forget and not let others forget. Let us remember that the impossible, the unthinkable happened and could happen again. While remembering, let us be on guard.