National Civic Commemoration

Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust

Capitol Rotunda
1987
Benediction
Chaplain Arnold E. Resnicoff, U.S. Navy



O Lord our God,
help us pray, as our
ceremony ends,
that our
service might begin.
And keep us from forgetting the difference.

Keep us from feeling too good
about what we say and do today,
for words are not enough,
and it is far too easy to recall
gigantic evil done by others,
yet miss the link to seeds of future horror
in our own lives:
in apathy, in the careless racial slur,
in blindness to a neighbor's wound,
or deafness to his cry....

And yet,
let us take some pride--and hope--
in what we do today,
for sometimes, words can pave the way:
songs and prayers
can bear witness to the good within us still,
can give dreams a voice--
a call which might be, must be, heard,
to give direction to our lives.

So,
from the Holocaust, we learn:
when we deny humanity in others,
we destroy humanity within ourselves.
When we reject the human, and the holy,
in any neighbor's soul,
then we unleash the beast, and the barbaric,
in our own heart.
And,
since the Holocaust, we pray:
if the time has not yet dawned
when we can all proclaim our faith in God,
then let us say at least
that we admit we are not gods ourselves.
If we cannot yet see the face of God in others,
then let us see, at least,
a face as human as our own.

So long ago
the Bible taught that life might be
a blessing or a curse:
the choice is in our hands.
Today we vow:
the curse will be remembered.
But our prayer must also be;
to fight despair;
to find the strength, the courage,
and the faith,
to keep alive the dream
that--through us and through our children--
the
blessing might still be.