After the ceremony, after the march around the Murrieta Town Square park area, and after the memorial service ended, it seemed fitting that a holocaust survivor who also served in the United States Marine Corps in the Korean War, sat near the Korean War Memorial near Murrieta's City Hall talking to the youngest member of the Israeli Parliament, Sherran Haskel.
The event began long before it actually began. Conversations broke out as people arrived and stood around the giant white tent adorned with the national flag of Israel. Old friends greeted each other, and new friends became acquainted with each other. Jew and Christian alike mingled and discussed various topics, often politics or thoughts related to the memory of the Holocaust. 400 seats under a massive tent began to fill, and Retired U.S. Navy Chaplain Bob Black got us started.
With each passing moment powerful emotions filled the area. A tear-filled version of God Bless America was sung by young Jordan Frazer, who was instantly joined in chorus by the visitors under the tent in the park who had not only filled every seat, but many had to stand at the openings because the number of people exceeded what had been expected. Rabbis and Pastors gave their remarks, and special speakers discussed the Holocaust, and Israel's current political issues.
Sherran Haskel, who is a member of the Israeli Knesset, and who fought in two wars as a member of the Israeli Defense Force, gave a rousing speech. Her words were about how important the Christians in Israel, and in America, are to Israel's freedom. She discussed the safety and freedom all people in Israel enjoy - even members of minority groups such as Christianity, or Islam. She commented about the Middle East. Israel has turned the desert into an area that is lush, and actually exports food. Looking at the prosperity and safety in Israel, she said, it is apparent that while around the world there are those who say "Israel is the problem in the Middle East, in truth Israel is the solution in the Middle East."
Later, I had a few moments to talk to Ms. Haskel. She absolutely loves America, and sees a strong relationship between the United States and Israel as essential in keeping peace in the world, and defeating the Islamist terrorist threat. I felt honored to even have the opportunity to spend the time with her.
Rosemary Schindler, the grand-niece of Oskar Schindler, was also present. Oskar Schindler's efforts to protect Jews from the Nazi Regime during the Holocaust were told in a powerful Hollywood film, "Schindler's List." Rosemary's speech revealed her deep love for the Jewish People. Her work is phenomenal, and is accomplished mostly through Skyline Church down in San Diego. The pastor of Skyline, Pastor Jim Garlow, gave a phenomenal final presentation near the end of the event that encouraged, and inspired all of those present.
Dr. Edena Polgar, the Consul of Hungary, joined us and spoke as well, with an important message from Europe that those in her country are seeing a rise in anti-semitism, and it must be stopped. She echoed the other speakers. We must never forget, and we must ensure such a horrific thing like the Holocaust never happens again.
Holocaust survivors, and persons on the behalf of Holocaust survivors, along with a few of the speakers, lit seven candles to commemorate, remember, and give memorial to those who died in the Holocaust, and to those who survived.
The event ended with a presentation from an old BBC broadcast. We viewed an image of Holocaust survivors being liberated from one of the concentration camps, and the survivors sang a song as they were being released. The audio of their singing from 1945 echoed through the tent. We listened intently to these people, many with tears on their cheeks. The survivors singing sounded as if they barely had enough strength to accomplish the task, yet they sang gleefully. The song? Hatikva. Israel's national anthem. The title means, "The Hope."