The Hero who Foiled Holocaust Museum Massacre

This morning, my run took me by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  I paid respect to the memorial that paid tribute to Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns, who died heroically in the line of duty on June 10 protecting the visitors and staff.

The attacker was a crazy anti-Semitic extremist who was intent on killing as many people as he could.  Thankfully, Officer Johns foiled the attack, while giving his life so others would live.

The memorial moved me so much, I decided to go inside to explore further the exhibits and hear their powerful, poignant stories.  I have been to the USHMM over a dozen times in the last several years, each time being moved in a different, special way, and today, was one such special day.

Doing my small but significant part in lighting a candle signifying the liberation of the concentration camps and to honor the lives of approximately 6 million souls murdered in the Holocaust.

In this picture, you can see the symbolic steel rafters which I could see looking outside through a port hole.  On the left of the picture is the US flag flown in half-staff for Officer Stephen Tyrone Jones.

I have paid homage to these decrepit shoes from long-gone survivors and from those who were slain over a dozen times and perhaps hundreds more in my sleep.  Though they are made of tattered fabric, I feel that they are a natural extension of their bodies, or perhaps even their souls.

Each time, I walk away completely shattered and shaken to a million little bitty pieces, sometimes, not being able to sleep, without turning, tossing, and thinking deep within myself.

We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses. 

We are the shoes of grandchildren and grandfathers.
From Prague, Paris, and Amsterdam,
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the Hellfire.
Yiddish Poet – Moses Schulstein (1911-1981)

Last year, I had the sacred opportunity to visit Dachau.   This surreal visit to a real place where real lives were twisted and turned and thrown away like scattered ashes held no comparison to a memorial within walls.  It was so chilling to realize that upon these hallowed grounds, thousands upon thousands were cruelly exterminated.

When you enter through the tar-black wrought-iron gates, plain and eerily dull, you are immediately slapped with these simple and sinister words:  Arbeit Macht Frei, a German phrase that means: "Work brings Freedom".  Nothing can be further from the truth -- what a cruel and conniving statement fabricated by the unscrupulous and sinister Nazi.  These words will always reverberate in my mind.

On the east side of my run towards the Capitol, I was blessed by the beautiful artistic celebration of Peace, being held in the West Side of Capitol Hill.  The event called "Dancing for Peace" was billed as a way "to experience and express emotions and resolve inner conflicts bringing peace to the body and soul."

Two dancers from the Abigail School of Classical Ballet grace the Capitol with their majestic pose.

A classical Indian dancer in original vintage dress from the Konark Dance School, graces the US Capitol, overlooking the Reflecting Pool.

What a great and respectful way to start and end a beautiful day, running and absorbing the amazing streets of DC.

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