April 22, 2010

Virginia EO office presents Holocaust program

By Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

RICHMOND, Va. — Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia National Guard, alongside approximately 150 local middle school students, gathered in the auditorium of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond April 15 to remember those who suffered during the Holocaust. They paid tribute through prayer, silent reflection and a play commissioned by the North Carolina Council on the Holocaust.

  Holocaust event in Richmond

Capt. Antoinette Allen, State Equal Employment Manager, serves some authentic Jewish cuisine at the Holocaust: Days of Rembrance program held a the Virginia Holocaust museum April 15. The program was presented by the Virginia National Guard Equal Opportunity Office. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos from the Holocaust Remembrance event.

The men and women from the Guard and the middle school students were there as guests of the Virginia Guard Equal Opportunity Office to share in the Holocaust: Days of Remembrance Program and were presented the play, “Let Your Children Tell,” performed by the Touring Theater of North Carolina.

The Virginia Holocaust Museum was grateful to the EO office for the contributions and partnership to make the day possible, so the children could learn about such a horrific time in history and be able to reflect on the atrocities bestowed on so many innocent people.

“We would like to thank the Equal Opportunity Office of the Virginia National Guard for making this possible and providing the funding so that we could see this production,” said Leigh Weedon, assistant to the executive director and founder of the museum.

The program showed the students the connection between the Holocaust and Virginians, especially Virginians who served in the Guard during World War II. The 29th Infantry Division, a mostly Virginia unit, was a large contributor to the storming of the Beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 and the subsequent movement across Europe.

“This is a part of our history,” said Army Col. Thomas L. Morgan, III, director of manpower and personnel. “The 29th Division, which included many Virginia National Guard units, proceeded across Europe and enabled the liberation of the concentration camps we were talking about this morning.”

  Holocaust event in Richmond

Performers from the Touring Theater of North Carolina perform "Let Your Children Tell" for an audience of middle school children and Virginia Guard personnel in the auditorium of the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond April 15. The play presents a timely topic that explores racism, discrimination and prejudice as it existed in a modern society. (Photo by Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Please visit the Virginia Guard Flickr page for more photos from the Holocaust Remembrance event.

“In particular, one of our units with the 191st Tank Battalion out of Danville was part of the liberation of Dachau.”

Morgan gave the students some words of encouragement to motivate them to take in as much as they could while at the museum and to not let the lives of so many who perished to have died in vain.

“I challenge you to reflect, not only on the horror that ignorance and hatred can bring, but also to realize the courage and honor that it takes to deal with it and bring about things like this museum and these presentations so that we don't forget,” he said.

“Let Your Children Tell” is a theater documentary about the Holocaust that follows the lives of young people from across Europe through their diaries as they write of the way in which the edicts, laws and horrific deeds of the Nazi’s of Germany’s Third Reich affected their lives, according to the producers of the play. Five actors presented this grim and heartbreaking dramatization.

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