This has been a week of radical occurrences in my life. Clearly, I tell myself, it must be something in the water. I have several friends that seem to be experiencing the same kind of “out of kilter” existence right now. Relationships are breaking apart and forming. Babies are being born and loved ones are dying. Health fluctuates back and forth. Underneath it all is this profound sense of ___________________(fill in the blank).
Today, I took a tour through the Holocaust Museum in downtown St. Pete with 31 eleven-year olds. I was curious to see how they would be affected by this experience. I’d been there once before and had that first visit impact. Also, growing up in Germany, I went on a high school field trip to Dachau Concentration Camp in my senior year. That rattled my reality quite a bit. My friends and I were all too familiar with the plight that occurred under Hitler’s rule.
Growing up in the U.S., one of the only ways to understand that dark time in history is through books, documentaries, and Hollywood films. It is so much more horrific and unfathomable than a book can explain.
So, back to the field trip. The docents broke us up into groups and off we went to different floors in the building. My group started out in the art gallery and slowly worked it’s way through the timeline section until we ended up at an actual railroad car that was used to transport countless Jewish people to their deaths.
I watched the reaction of the kids on the tour and realized they had no real idea of what this was. They couldn’t relate to the magnitude of the atrocity and how things were. Ironically, these children are all of color. When the docent explained how and why this occurred, I piped in with, you know it’s like what happened with the Equal Right’s Movement. More blank stares. It made me realize just how important it is and will remain to be, to begin educating our children at a young age so they can affect change and the assurance that nothing like that will ever happen again, before they become jaded.
I had to take a moment, grasping at a pause in my personal universe, as I looked upon the wall filled with pictures of people whose smiling faces and captured moments were kept frozen in time. I realized that my people were trapped and enslaved in the same way and though things are far from perfect, there is some semblance of normalcy in our world. I can’t even count how many races have been targeted for eradication by small and twisted minds. I can’t understand how after everything we as humans have done to each other, there is still no universal love and peace. What will it take?
That is all.