By Cheryl Rodewig, The BayonetApril 1, 2010
FORT BENNING, Ga. - The Days of Remembrance Commemorative Service, an annual ceremony held in remembrance of the Holocaust, will be from 11 a.m. to noon April 15 at the Benning Conference Center. The guest speaker will be COL(R) Aaron Cohn, a Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit judge and World War II veteran.
SFC Eugene Crow, NCOIC for the event, said the Equal Opportunity Office invited Cohn to speak so he could pass on his first-hand account to those who attend the service.
"To actually hear from a liberator who is Jewish, who was in the United States Army, it means more," Crow said. "Imagine how he had to feel going through that ... to (see) the concentration camps. He can share that with them."
Cohn's parents immigrated to America in 1906, fleeing anti-Semitic riots in Russia, and eventually settled in Columbus. Thirty-one years later, Cohn accepted his commission to the U.S. Cavalry Reserve. With the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, he served in four campaigns in France, Ardennes and Rhineland for which he later was decorated. In Austria, he freed Jews from the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria.
The Days of Remembrance ceremony offers a chance for people to remember their responsibility toward each other, said Chaplain (MAJ) Carlos Huerta, 30th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception).
"We remember so that we as a people, as an Army, as a nation do not become the greatest of all evils: the evil of standing by and letting evil triumph when we could have stopped it," Huerta said.
"This service is important to me because I know if I had lived in that time and place, my bones would have gone up in smoke in the crematoriums of Auschwitz," he said. "It lets me understand that such evil can arise in any generation that chooses not to pick up the gauntlet and defend its freedom."
The service is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served at the end of the ceremony.