Author's Note: This article is inspired by the Hall of Remembrance in the Holocaust Museum at my trip to Washington D.C. last week.
I can see my reflection in the black marble as this flame leaps up into the air. The candles all around me reflect the names off the hellish environment so many do not understand.
I am here, I am me. I am remembering.
Actually, my hair shines in this light. My clothes seem to stand out amongst all this black and gray, and I feel the need to strike a match, so I do. I light a small candle laying on one of the counters and place it with the rest.
There are too many candles here.
I wish it had never happened. I wish I wasn't here, remembering all these people, all these experiences. I wish I didn't know how far you can push yourself until you break, and I wish history had left me with some of my innocence.
The security guard near me smiles slightly as I strike a match and light another candle, placing it in another empty spot. I bow my head and feel tears rolling down my cheeks.
I do not cry in public, I do not cry in public . . .
I've seen so many photographs, read all these books, heard the voices of those who still live, but I struggle to deal with the things I feel everyday because of this history. Pain, suffering, fear, anger . . . how can so many people remain so wrapped up in their own lives in a place like this? I see nothing but muddy earth and smell nothing but smoke. My skies are often gray in my eyes and it's always cold . . . so cold. I always find a reason to remember, to reflect, to haunt myself.
I have no ancestry in this place, no religious background, no reason to be here, no reason to care. But yet, here I stand, all alone in this busy world accepting what others wish not to feel. I understand people are afraid, don't want to look, but I have to. It's a part of me I can't explain, a quieter, suffering part of me that lingers in my soul. I have never felt so deeply about anything as what stands before me. I long to understand what it means to truly be a survivor.
I am not going to deal with hatred anymore, I do not believe in a superior being. No one can ever tell me how to live my life again. I have the right to be different here, to be myself, so I will. I will stand where others will not; I will remember what others don't want to. I promise to myself and all these weary souls that I will always be, in a way, mourning forever. Because like Coldplay states, I will never follow Death and all of his friends. Today is something new, something else, and I only wish to remain here longer.
But as my classmates draw nearer, I simply kiss my fingers and place them against my two candles, recalling the words of all these people who never lived to see this place.
People say memories fade. Some even tell you to forget. I am not naive, I know things like this are happening everyday. If only I had the courage to face a gun without being afraid. If only I could look death in the eye without letting my tears fall. I'm not strong enough yet, and I'm afraid that unless I experience horrors like these, I never will be.
However, the one truth I believe in is the words of all those dead and living, who have seen the muddy earth and smelt the smoke, who saw the gray skies and knows what it's like to be cold. I try to find the goodness in people like Anne and I let myself remember so that this will not happen again, just like Mr. Weisel implied on the walls of this sanctuary.
I do not want my soul to break. I do not want to lose to the majority, and I do not want to see the minority suffer.
So I will simply, remember.
"We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else." -Elie Weisel
Author's Note: Please remain respectful in the BBS, considering the fact the Holocaust is an extremely serious subject. I know many of you will post and say "This is so sad!" and move on with your lives, but hopefully, this will change someone's perspective and help them understand too. And that's all I'm trying to do, changing the world through my words, one person at a time.