National Days of Remembrance

Thursday April 19, 2012

What is it?

National Days of Remembrance is observed from April 15-22, 2012. This week, we remember not only the millions of victims and survivors of the Holocaust, but also the heroes whose actions saved incalculable lives. Less than 70 years ago, witnesses to the atrocities of Nazi-occupied Europe, were faced with the choice of stopping the persecution of their neighbors and fellow countrymen or standing by in acquiescent silence. Unfortunately, fearing for their own lives, many people opted for the latter. However, some remarkable individuals chose action over fear, courageously standing up to tyranny and hatred.

We remember heroes such as the villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Ligon, France, who hid 5,000 Jews and guided many of them across the Swiss border to safety. We remember the Danish resistance fighters who ferried almost all of Denmark's Jews out of harm's way and into Sweden. We remember the American Soldiers who liberated the Nazi concentration camps, and bore witness to horrors that many would try to deny. Many stories of rescue belong to individuals whose names were never recorded by history - the government official who forged identity papers; the families who hid Jewish friends in their attics and basements; the nuns who offered a safe haven to Jewish children.

What has the Army done?

Army leadership has asked the entire Army family to honor the courage of those individuals who chose to take a stand against persecution by rejecting all forms of prejudice and bigotry. Leadership has also asked us to remain vigilant against the threat of genocide and to let us honor both those who perished and those who quietly triumphed over oppression by letting our actions illustrate tolerance and respect for all people.

What is planned for the future?

The Army will pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust by telling their stories in command information products at all levels. Army installations throughout the world will also honor them through local events during the month.

Why is this important to the Army?

As an Army, we must reject all forms of prejudice, bigotry, and hatred in order to remain strong. As we mourn those who were lost and honor the survivors, we should remember the hatred and persecution that led to the atrocities that we must remain vigilant against.


United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Days of Remembrance

Related article: Choosing to act: Stories of rescue

Related blog: Day of remembrance: 70 years after Executive Order 9066







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