April 19, 2004
It's Never Too Late to Remember
Have you ever left your house and some minutes later
stopped, and thought to yourself, "Oh my! I can't
believe that I forgot…!" When that kind of thing
happens, we often get angry with ourselves as we
return home to get whatever it was we forgot.
But in cases such as this, did we really forget, or
did we actually remember? We could get technical and
say that we had temporarily forgotten and eventually
remembered. But in the end we did remember; we didn't
Yesterday was Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day).
Each year on this day the Jewish Community takes time
to especially remember the horrific tragedy of the six
million Jewish people murdered during World War II.
Canada, where I live, for the first time ever
yesterday, officially observed this day.
By adopting Holocaust Memorial Day, the Canadian
government made a decision to take the memories and
lessons of the Holocaust beyond the confines of the
Jewish community. Some may lament that it took too
long for Canada to acknowledge this day – 59 years –
but it's never too late to remember.
Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Canada as it is in
many other parts of the world. Just recently our two
biggest cities, Toronto and Montreal, have seen
disturbing anti-Jewish acts including the desecration
of property with Nazi symbols and the fire bombing of
a Jewish school.
But it's never too late to remember.
It's never too late to remember that we are all
vulnerable to violence and hatred.
It's never too late to remember that the Jewish
community is often the first to be targeted when
wickedness goes unchecked in a society.
It's never too late to remember that evil exists in
our own communties where we each live, and not just
somewhere else that we only read about in the news.
It's never too late to remember that evil flourishes
when good people do nothing.
When those of us who know what is good and right
choose to forget to do what is right, evil will have
We don't usually think of forgetting as a choice. But
think about the illustration I began with. How many
times do we remember something that we forgot, yet due
to inconvenience or some other reason, we choose to
not do anything about it. It's just too much bother.
We choose to forget.
Yet it's never too late to remember.
Since Yom Hashoah was yesterday, I thought that maybe
I shouldn't bother discussing it. It's already passed
– old news. But it's never too late to remember.
We must not ignore the realities of the things the
Holocaust seeks to teach us about ourselves, others,
and God. In the busy-ness of our daily, hectic lives,
the Holocaust shouts at us to remember.
Have you forgotten anything?