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Kadena observes Days of Remembrance

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
Candles illuminated the base chapel May 2 in honor of the 10 million lives extinguished by anti-Semitism and hatred during World War II. 

Military and civilian members from around the base attended the Days of Remembrance memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the lives of the Jewish people and other persecuted groups who died in the Holocaust. 

"The candles in the chapel commemorate the lives lost as a result of the German genocide during World War II," said Chaplain (Maj.) Samuel Rorer III. "We are here to remember those whose candles were prematurely extinguished and educate future generations to prevent such acts in the future." 

Those who attended the ceremony viewed art displays created by students from Kadena High School and listened as students read aloud from essays they wrote about the Holocaust. The ceremony was followed Saturday morning by a 5 K 'run to remember.' 

Between 1939 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews and members of other groups from occupied territories in Germany and other countries to ghettos and concentration camps, where they were forced into slave labor or simply killed. 

Jews of all ages were forced to wear the star of David on their clothing...forced to leave everything of significant value in the hands of evil, said Selyssa Ordorica, Kadena High School student, as she read her essay during the Days of Remembrance ceremony. 

It was a well-thought-out plan by Adolf Hitler to eradicate those elements of society that he felt either represented a moral philosophy he could not abide or degraded his vision of a "pure" race, said Rabbi (Lt.) Kevin Bemel, a Jewish Orthodox chaplain with the U.S. Navy. 

The Rabbi stressed the importance of Kadena's remembrance ceremony and other events to ensure that the memory of what happened during the war is never forgotten. He cited Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower's tour for government officials and members of the press that led after the war to show them the devastation wrought by the Nazi concentration camps. He quoted Gen. Eisenhower, saying "Lest there come a time when people will say it did not happen." 

"In another 20 years every witness to the Holocaust will be gone," said Rabbi Bemel. "We live in a world where holocaust denial is increasing and millions of people around the world are already proving the truth about Eisenhower's words." 

This must be kept in the human memory to recognize the moral responsibility we have to each other and to treat each person with dignity, said the Rabbi.