Recently I was invited to speak at a Holocaust Remembrance Day event at the University of Nevada, Reno. The actual days of remembrance for 2014 begin on April 27. But there are a lot of reminders going on throughout the month. The theme for the event I will be speaking at, however, is Genocide.
In preparing my speech I pondered having my husband share his personal side of the story. I’m not one to hog the limelight! Ask anybody, I’m not a public speaker, but since the release of THE ALTERED I, I have had to step out of every comfort zone I may possess and become what I need to in order to promote awareness for the book. But I digress. The reason I thought of Paul is because it is his family that is directly affected by genocide. Who else could talk more freely on the subject?
What he said touched me. He talked about how if his father hadn’t survived he would never have been born. He said he lost his connection to his father’s side of the family, no grandparents to share summer vacations with or school report cards. He only had one bitter aunt who survived the Holocaust, his father’s eldest sister, but found it difficult, if not impossible, to share her ordeal. Because of genocide his father disconnected emotionally from his wife and children.
Conversely had his father not gone through the Holocaust at all Paul might not have been born anyway. So it is interesting to think that because of genocide Paul is alive. Not to say we welcome genocide, but life really does hang by a fragile thread, it’s a miracle when you think about it.
In this country we are relatively free from the impact of genocide, but we have other things. Perhaps PTSD from some traumatic experience. Who hasn’t been touched by the war in Afghanistan? Every day I see commercials on TV asking for donations for wounded warriors returning home to their families. There is a lot of trauma that goes on behind closed doors. We aren’t aware of what people in our neighborhoods are really dealing with in their lives.
So even if genocide hasn’t directly affected you, I’m sure you’ve been affected by some trauma. How are you coping? Will this year’s annual Holocaust observance inspire you? What will you learn? What will you change?
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