11/17/05 — Obligation: Freedom requires vigilance against injustice

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Obligation: Freedom requires vigilance against injustice

It was not easy to listen to Gizella Abramson’s description of her life and the horrors she witnessed as a young girl during the Holocaust.

She described cruelty and inhumanity that seem so out of place, so hard to imagine, so hard to believe. Some of her remembrances were so horrible that they could bring tears to the eyes and gasps to the lips.

But yet it was still important to listen.

And then there were the memories of heroism, courage, determination and a will to carry on and care for each other, even when the bleakest of circumstance conspired to make thoughts of a future impossible.

And it is in those remembrances that the listener finds not solace — but an understanding that bravery and compassion sometimes can even beat evil.

None of us can really understand what it must have been like to struggle to survive during those years during World War II.

It is part of Mrs. Abramson’s mission to help make sure we try.

But what was important about Mrs. Abramson’s speech Monday night at Wayne Community College was not just the historical perspective she brought to the hundreds of county residents who filled the auditorium.

It was her message for the future.

Mrs. Abramson challenged those present to protect the freedoms they are so lucky to have. She insisted that those students and others who were present think about how important it is to stand up for what is right, no matter what the cost.

She made many of those present think about how easily a tide of evil can sweep over good people and carry them along to lengths they never thought possible.

She made sure her audience realized that the important lesson from the Holocaust is what happens when good people wait too long to do something.

And there couldn’t be a more sage piece of advice.

It is easy to ignore injustice. Busy lives, self-preservation, too many demands on our own lives make it hard to see the problems that need our attention both at home and around the world.

But being citizens of a free nation with all the advantages that come with that status requires a special responsibility to speak up, take action and be part of the solution.

Mrs. Abramson spoke of responsibility and freedom.

Her gift to Wayne County Monday was to make sure we remember their connection — and obligation.

Published in Editorials on November 17, 2005 12:16 PM