NEW YORK (May. 30)
Sailors of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, men and women of all faiths, participated recently in the first Holocaust remembrance ceremonies ever to take place aboard an American warship.
The event was on the forecastle deck of the USS Puget Sound, flagship of the Sixth Fleet, in Malaga Spain. They were joined by the officers and crews of the USS Semmes and USS Peterson. The keynote speaker was Vice Admiral Edward Martin, Sixth Fleet Commander, and the ceremonies were conducted by Assistant Fleet Chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, the Public Affairs Office of the Sixth Fleet reported here.
The occasion was the “Days of Remembrance,” held each year since 1979 during the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, coordinated by the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. This year, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger enlisted the aid of the Secretaries of the armed forces to encourage military observances of the ceremonies and the Sixth Fleet ceremony was in response to this call.
Admiral Martin spoke on “What the Holocaust Was-and What It Was Not.” He observed that many nations seem to separate the idea of the State from the people the State represents and noted that the Declaration of Independence begins with the assertion that there are certain “inalienable rights” that no country can deny: “The right to life; life with a chance for happiness; life with the blessings of liberty.”
Resnicoff drew a parallel between the oppression of POWs in Hanoi and the Jews in the Nazi camps. He noted that Admiral Martin had himself been a POW for 68 months and pointed out those values which enabled one person to resist until the end while others were less fortunate.