The Field of Flags: A Student’s Thoughts on Holocaust Remembrance

The flags represented the individuals who were targeted during the Holocaust. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams
The flags represented the individuals who were targeted during the Holocaust. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams
The flags represented the individuals who were targeted during the Holocaust. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams

The flags represented the individuals who were targeted during the Holocaust.
Photo Credit / Mitch Williams

Erin McGuire
Staff Writer

It was a rainy day out on Monday afternoon, but the weather seemed almost metaphorical for the event that was about to take place.

Standing there, complaining to myself about the cold and how I was hungry, the realization of where I was dawned on me.

Here I was, at a Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, concerned about my hunger.

After the initial annoyance that I felt towards myself, I fully engaged myself into the ceremony, once it had begun.

Because of the weather, there were not many people there.

It was a bit shocking to see that people would not show up to such an important event because of a little rain; even the Dean was there.

It was explained that there were about 2,300 flags spread out, representing the 5,000 people who were targeted and executed during the Holocaust between 1993 and 1945.

There were seven different colored flags, representing different groups of people, yellow being the Jewish, red being Soviets, orange being the Polish, blue being Gypsies, white being the disabled, green being Jehovah’s Witnesses, and pink being gays and lesbians.

It was quite refreshing to see an event that was targeted not just toward the Jewish people who died, but towards the other groups of people as well.

“The whole week represents not just the tragedy of the history from the old days, but also the positive outlook that we can have of the things that have taken place. That we know that back in the day there was a lot of blood being spilled by difference and by hatred, we can look towards the future and know that we can have a better future.”

This was the first thing stated once the event had started. Because this was one of the first events to take place in Global Week, we were reminded of the purpose this week has, and why it important to us on campus.

We were then introduced to Rabbi Baruch Melman, the Rabbi from the local synagogue who said in his opening statement.

“This rain is the rain of tears for how humanity has treated each other in the past…people are forgetting the Holocaust and because of that the same tragedies are being further perpetrated in our world today.”

The signs placed near the flags inform visitors of the numbers. Photo Credit / Mitch Williams

The signs placed near the flags inform visitors of the numbers.
Photo Credit / Mitch Williams

We were left with three other speakers, one who spoke on behalf of the gay and lesbian people who died, and two women who spoke on behalf of the Jewish individuals.

The women who spoke had ancestors who survived the terrible tragedy.

This whole event was quite eye opening because I started to realize that the Rabbi was right about what he said that people are forgetting about the Holocaust.

Little by little we are hearing less of the Holocaust and hearing more about events like this that are happening now and we do not hear much about the people who died who were not Jewish.

It was really a beautiful event to be a part of and it is important to know that the flags will be up all throughout Global Week, so if anyone would like to go and see them and remember the fallen people of this horrible event they are in front of Stroudhenge.

Also, for further information about the events occurring during Global Week go to esu.edu/globalweek.

Email Erin at:
emcguire1@live.esu.edu

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