Courage, Resilience and Hope

I have another post waiting in the wings, but today I want to take this space to share with you our experience (my daughter and granddaughters) had at the Anne Frank exhibit at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. Indirectly it is about education, how could it not be, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” -George Santayana.  Our intention was to only view this exhibit since my older granddaughter (rising 7th grader) had been learning about Anne Frank in one of her classes. The younger one (rising 4th grader) knew some of this history as she had written a book report about Anne Frank. Hiwever we were fortunate to arrive in time to hear a first hand account by a Holocaust survivor. This women told us (a diverse audience in age, race and religion) about her normal life till the age of 7 and then the horrors she endured during the Shoah We sat quietly, mesmerized at her compelling story, wondering how she survived. She then left time for comments and questions. I sat with my family, watched tears flowing down my daughter’s eyes and looked at my granddaughters, knowing that sometime in the next few days, when they were ready, we would talks about what they heard (and later what they saw in the exhibit). After listening to questions and comments I raised my hand to share what was in my heart. First I thanked the survivor for sharing her story with all of us. Then I talked about the courage and resilience on her part it took to live. I also said how hopeful I felt seeing so many people from different walks of life sitting in the audience and how important, I felt it was, to encourage people to come to this exhibit as well as visit the other parts of the Museum of Tolerance. A young women piggybacked on my comment asking the speaker “how she found the courage to go on?” And the survivor said (and I paraphrase), “I chose life.” She also referenced Elie Wiesel’s when he said “I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I owe something to the dead and anyone who does not remember betrays them again.” A powerful message to everyone sitting and wondering why she speaks out.

I share this today because of all the ugliness I see in the world. I think of my grandkids and what we are leaving them; a mess of unequal proportion in my life time. I sit outside on my front porch as I write and listen to the birds chirping. They sing a song of hope and so I know hope is not just a word, if we make it happen.

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