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Remembrance Day

We had an wonderful service of remembrance at our church on Sunday. A young woman in our congregation told us of her experience visiting Normandy and Vimy Ridge, where there is a Canadian war memorial. She spoke eloquently and shared her own emotional reactions through her story. She also showed an accompanying slide show of her own photos from those places. I was moved to tears listening to her. Toward the end, she said that she wished so many more could have the chance to visit places like this. I agree, visiting places of honour and remembrance opens people's hearts and minds to the reality of war. And it's important to shine a light on that reality so we do not keep going down that same path.

The closest similar experience I've had was standing in the ghetto in Venice, on the very spot where thousands of people were rounded up and sent to concentrations camps. It really does hit the heart hard to stand in those places and feel the presence of those who suffered the horrendous atrocities of war...

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The plaque says:

Duecento ebrei di venezia
ottomila ebrei d'italia
sei milioni di ebrei d'europa
da cieco barbarico odio
in lontane terre
cacciati martoriati soppressi

il ricordo dell atrocissima offesa
alla umana civilta
richiami cli uomini tutti
alla santa legge di dio
ai sentimenti di fraternita e di amore
che primo israele affermo fra i popoli

Which words I typed into google translate and then tried to make sense of the result. Here's a very rough translation in English:

Two hundred eight thousand Jews of the Jews of Venice, Italy, six million European Jews, hunted tortured exterminated by blind hatred in barbaric distant lands.

The memory of the atrocious offense against human civilization calls all humanity to the holy law of God to the feelings of brotherhood and love told first among the peoples of Israel.

The above are my own photos, but I also found these images in a google search and want to post them here for Remembrance Day...


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And now, I'm off to the service of remembrance at the cenotaph in my community. Several hundred (Dave figures close to a thousand) people gather annually for this service - which I think is an amazing turnout for a community of only 3,500 or so. We gather to pay our respects and honour those who have given lives, health, peace of mind in order that the rest of us may enjoy our comfortable lives. We will remember...

Comments (5)

The ghetto in Venice hit my heart hard too. It's so unreal and especially when you think about the fact that it wasn't that long ago.

Hope the service was wonderful!

Anne:

Annie, I feel emotional just looking at my photos from the ghetto. It is just so...shocking to stand in that place and absorb the history of the people who lived there.

Dave and I both thought the service felt a bit off this year for some reason. But there was a huge turnout, as always - we live in a tight community, many families have been in this area for generations. (The only church is Catholic though, so I have to go outside the community for my United Church fix!)

I took that same photo when I was in Venice.

I think it says:
Two hundred Jews of Venice
Eight thousand Jews of Italy
Six million Jews of Europe...

Wonderful post.

Anne:

Thanks girasoli. Your translation makes more sense, I was thinking 208,000 seemed like a huge number for just Venice.

Your post touched my heart.

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