WASHINGTON (May. 2)
President Bush said Tuesday that the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum being built in Washington will serve to teach future generations about the danger of allowing human rights to be jeopardized anywhere in the world.
“This building will testify more powerfully than any words the importance of protecting the freedom and dignity of all people,” Bush said in a message to the ninth annual National Civic Commemoration of the Days of Remembrance in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.
Bush’s message was read by Harvey Meyerhoff, chairman of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. Leaders of the council met with Bush at the White House before the ceremony.
The rotunda was packed with Holocaust survivors, representatives of Jewish organizations, members of Congress and of the diplomatic corps, including Israeli Ambassador Moshe Arad.
The walls of the cavernous room echoed when the El Molei Rachamim was chanted by Metropolitan Opera tenor Misha Raitzin. The Kaddish was recited by Rabbi Pinchas Teitz of Elizabeth, N.J.
Members of Congress joined Holocaust survivors in lighting six candles in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis.
Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole (R-Kan.) said that the ceremony is a reminder of the millions killed by the Nazis, and of those who, while they survived, “carried with them throughout their remaining lives the permanent scars of the horrors they suffered.”
LOOK AHEAD IN HOPE
He said that “we remember — not to look back in hate, but to look ahead in hope and in determination that this will never happen again.”
Benjamin Meed, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of the Days of Remembrance Committee, expressed the gratitude of the survivors for the haven they found in the United States.
“America has been good to us and we have been good for America,” Meed said. “We have served as messengers from man’s darkest hours, the early warnings against present-day evils, and miraculously we have been filled not with hatred but with life, love and memory.”
The U.S. Army Band and the color guard of the Third U.S. Infantry participated in the hour-long ceremony.
The council presented its annual Eisenhower Liberation Medal posthumously to Gen. Omar Bradley. In accepting the award, his daughter, Mrs. Benjamin Henry Dorsey, said that until he died, her father could not forget what he saw when he led the armies that liberated the death camps.
As for the museum, Meyerhoff said that construction will begin within a month and that the council has raised more than $63 million of the $147 million needed to build and equip the museum, all of it from private sources.
At a council meeting after the ceremony, it was announced that Kitty Dukakis, wife of Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, and former Maryland Gov. Harold Hughes, will be co-chairs of the Governors’ Events, a project of Campaign to Remember, the fund-raising arm of the council. Dukakis served on the council from 1980 to 1987.