At 10:00 a scheduled alarm was sounded in Israel today. It is the Holocaust Memorial Day. We remember the darkest period in our collective history. It is a living remembrance. We can almost touch it, it is so close. People who were there still walk among us, though not for much longer. And this whole tiny country wouldn't exist were it not for the confirmation that no place is assuredly safe for the Jews in the world except for a Jewish place that can defend it's borders. And I write this as an optimist.
Many people mentioned the upcoming 10:00 am siren. It customary around these parts to make sure people understand the nature of a scheduled blast, as an unannounced siren can be alarming, so to speak. Elie and I were walking on a major boulevard at 10:00 am. A few minutes before, I noticed people emerging from their apartments, workplaces, cafes. When the alarm began everyone stopped in place. Cars pulled over and people got out and stood in the roadway.
We all stood in place as the long blast carried through the air. Like statues. I have never experienced a more moving moment without any moving. No one used a cell phone, no one was above the moment. While it's hard to agree upon anything these days, we were all statues. I'm pretty sure Elie and I were the only people statue-hugging throughout the blast.
I have not experienced anything like this in the United States, or dis-United States as the case may be. Even the hot topic of kneeling for the National Anthem, where people are actually arguing the same point just in different physical positions (a love for the country and all that it stands for in it's most ideal state), are impossibly divided. Israel is much smaller, and much younger to be sure. I hope we don't grow more divided with age.
Yesterday, Jonah brought home a memorial candle from school. It's a program where victims of the Holocaust are remembered by people who light candles in their memory. I am proud to introduce you to Mr. Albert Mus, a victim of the Holocaust, and the man our family remembers today. We didn't know him, but we know him. His candle is still burning even as I write this. His candle is the picture I share here.
Mr. Mus is the son of Rosa and Frederic. He was born in 1874 and perished in 1944. He lived to be 70. He died at the same age that Israel is now. May his memory be a blessing.