There are many reasons to pause today: for citizens of the United States: this weekend hosts many Veterans Day activities. My grandfather was a World War I veteran. He served as both a sniper and a front line interpreter in Europe. His experience was bad, and my grandmother would note that he never got away from the “nightmares.” He never talked about them or his experience much. But on November 11 in 1918, World War 1 ended.
Prior to World War II, this day remembers Kristallnacht. November 9-10, 1938 Jewish homes and synagogues, hospitals and schools were and demolished throughout Germany and Austria. Thousands of Jewish men were sent to concentration camps and this was the beginning of the Holocaust were millions of Jewish men, women and children would be slaughtered.
In 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall in Germany would occur beginning on November 9 and continuing in the days that would follow. This symbol of the division between the east and west, between the Soviet Union and the free world would be dismantled and the reuniting of families would begin. The visual was stunning and Germany would spend billions of dollars on unification of families and their country.
Personally, today is the anniversary of mother’s death. Six years ago she transitioned from this life to the next surrounded by her children and love. Every day is filled with anniversaries of things internationally and personally. Finding time to pause and remember is important.
For me it can be easy to go through life and not pay attention to these important moments where the world changed and where my life changed. And yet…..I find if I don’t pay attention, it is easy to forget. What is the old saying? Those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.
I honor the memory of mother, of those who tore down the Berlin Wall and commit myself to not forget the horrors of Kristallnacht. Too often I turn from injustice because it “doesn’t affect” me….and yet, if I am honest it does affect me. Life is too short not to notice the injustices and pain and pain of those who are inflicted with hatred and bigotry.
We are brothers and sisters, siblings created in the image of God. This day as is true every day, we are called to stand up against evil and injustice wherever they may be. I long to be part of a world where goodness and love, hope and faith are made real in the world.
So as I remember my mother, as I remember the horror of Kristallnachht and the hope of the fall of the Berlin Wall, I recommit myself to be part of God’s reign of justice, righteousness, hope and peace.