Saturday, 15 November 2008

in memory of those loved and lost.

On Thursday, we had the opportunity to go to the Imperial War Museum. I absolutely loved it. It was probably one of the most thought provoking interesting museums that I have ever been in. Walking into it, you are greeted by a hall of machinery and tanks and planes that have been used over the years in war. It is here that the glorious nature of the war is personified. War=Technology=Advancement=Victory right? As you move more into the museum, you see the effects of the war. The actual experiences that people had to go through to bring peace to their countries and to fight for what they believe in. The World War I and II exhibits were really fascinating. They had so many artifacts and personal stories that were shared in really interactive ways because it was not that long ago. They had special exhibits/experiences where you could go into a trench that they had created and also a bomb shelter in london and the surrounding town and what it would have looked like with all the rubble and broken places and the sounds. Imagining having to actually be in the trench was humbling. It was small, dark, dirty, and it did not feel protected at all. At any time it would have been easy for the enemy to infiltrate the trench, and the sickness and the living conditions would have made it unbearable. It was also scary to sit in the little bomb shelter and to imagine how terrifying it must have been to sit there night after night for months at a time, just hoping that a bomb didn't fall on you and that shrapnel wouldn't somehow injure you or someone you loved. It was also really sweet to watch little old men and their wives looking at all of the things from the wars that they most likely had been a part of. Their lives, their friends, their experiences personified in a museum. It must be a special and an honorable moment to be able to walk into a place that honors your work, your biggest trial, your largest conquered fear.
Even more profound was the Holocaust section that they had in the museum. That period in time has always fascinated me. How people could be that cruel to others is something that I have never been and will never be able to understand. Putting myself in their situation, I don't know if I could have done the things that these poor people had to go through. The complete dehumanization of society. I felt sick as I wandered through and heard the recounting of events, saw the pictures of the camps and the gaunt and haunted faces of mothers, fathers, grandmothers, brothers stripped of their individuality and their lives just because of what family and religion they were born into. They had to face possible death and the death of those they loved dearly just because of who they were. What could they do? They could stand up for what they believed in and become even more of a target, they could give up all hope, or they could just try to make it to the next day.. live life and do what they had to in order to survive. They were forced to live against each other just to survive. One of the things that stuck out to me this time were the voices telling their stories and saying how when they arrived at the camps and saw the people living there, with shaved heads and striped clothing, they thought that they had arrived at an insane asylum, but within two hours, they all would meet the same fate as those then had seen behind the barbed wire from a distance. And Fear. The utter fear and the horrible process of being viciously stripped of not only your material things, but also your pride. I don't think that I could have made it.

This event in history still effects people today. Not just those who lived through it, but those who learn from it and realize that life should be respected. Love for your fellow man should come first. I am so grateful that I live in a place where we are accepted for our differences. I'm grateful that my family migrated to be with the church and that I have grown up with more opportunities in my life that I could have ever dreamed of. I only hope that one day I can share my experiences and help to show other people that ignorance of others is unacceptable and that it is only through the respect of oneself and others that this world has a hope to progress.

To all those who have sacrificed or died for what they believed in, I thank you.

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