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 
forget.

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 
its way.

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?