MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Several dozen Marines and sailors reflected on the horrors of the Holocaust and paid homage to its victims during a remembrance ceremony here April 23.
“The point of this remembrance was to bring awareness to the atrocities committed during the Holocaust,” said Staff Sergeant Tanya M. Queiro, an equal opportunity advisor with Marine Corps Base here. “This marks the first time Camp Lejeune is doing this remembrance,” said the Edenton, N.C., native.
The Holocaust was the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators, according to information provided during the ceremony. With the term derived from Greek origins meaning, “sacrifice by fire,” the Holocaust came about from policies of the Nazi leadership which came to power in Germany in 1933. The Nazis believed the Germans were racially superior and that others, especially Jews, were inferior and unworthy of life. Besides Jews, the Nazis targeted Slavic peoples, Gypsies, the handicapped and other minority groups for persecution and extermination.
In memory of these victims, Congress designated April 18 through April 24 as the “Days of Remembrance.”
Highlights of the somber commemoration included a 20-minute documentary video, a candle lighting ceremony in remembrance of the victims and a guest speaker from the Jewish Chapel here.
The candle lighting ceremony consisted of seven candles being lit by Navy religious programming specialists. Each candle represented one million Jewish victims with the seventh candle representing the non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The guest speaker was Steve Blasé, the lay reader at the Jewish Chapel. He spoke about the horrific series of events that occurred around 60 years ago during World War II and the need to be aware today so that its inhumanity is not repeated again.
“It’s something that needs to be remembered,” said Blasé, a former active-duty Marine and Detroit native. “It worries me, because many of the people who experienced and witnessed this are dying out.”
Servicemembers attending the ceremony appeared reverent, somber and saddened by the loss of millions of human lives.
“It makes you sad about what happened there,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class, Rory D. Goodrick, 24, a religious programming specialist and native of Newport, N.C., assigned with 2nd Marine Division.
Others were very attentive to the lessons from the message.
“I think it’s a message for everyone,” said Sgt. Dora M. Huffman, an equal opportunity representative trainee assigned to the Marine detachment at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas. “It is a message of human rights, tolerance and for people to become aware of these things.”
To learn more about the Holocaust visit The Holocaust History project at http://www.holocaust-history.org/ and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum at www.ushmm.org/