Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Day of Mourning -- There's always things going on in the world -- things I'd like to write about. In sports: The Nationals have won two games in a row -- we might even whisper about a winning streak. while D.C. United ponders 6 goals given in 2 games, a ride up I-95 and the New Jersey Turnpike takes one up to East Rutherford, where D.C. United's one-time coach may be putting together the biggest surprise in the MLS, with young Josmer Altidore, veteran signings Claudio Reyna and Clint Mathis, and today's announcement of a potential coup, pulling the Colombian national Juan Pablo Angel away from fading Aston Villa. Angel will be an instant hit with the large number of Colombians in the New York metropolitan area, and he may be a great addition on the field, as well.

In the world: John Edwards' campaign seems to be gaining traction, at least among the party activist blogosphere. The Iraq mess only gets deeper. The Darfur genocide goes on, as the world still only talks about doing something.

Today, however is a day of mourning, in so many ways. As a nation, we Americans are in shock over the events yesterday on the Virginia Tech campus. The world has taken notice, and shares our shock. We must also, though, ask the world to remember another great tragedy. Yesterday was Yom Ha'Shoah. The Israeli national holiday translated into English as Holocaust Remembrance Day (technically the date was Sunday, but it is observed here on Monday, when the date falls on Sunday). The connection is even more poignant today, as the news from Blacksburg comes with the almost obscene irony that one of yesterday's victims was a professor who was a Holocaust survivor himself.

The horror at Virginia Tech was a kind of mini-Holocaust -- a few minutes of enormous terror and senseless murders. It's worth remembering the pain here is but an infinitesimal fraction of the agony that the Jewish people suffered, beginning with Kristallnacht some seventy years ago. For Jews, remembering the ones we have lost -- the ones we remember each year at this time, and the survivors we honor is important, but it should not replace our grief and our empathy for the those lost and those who were so traumatized in Blacksburg yesterday. The Holocaust museum calls for a week of remembrance. Today is a day of profound mourning in America. It is also a day of remembrance for all of us, to remember all the victims of senseless violence.

Last night, I read a complaint about narcissistic grief junkies who had no connection to the tragedy. I'm not sure what connection one needs to have to feel pain. That individual thought being a Virginia Tech grad would suffice. I went to law school nearby. While the area has a place in my heart, I'm not sure how that is of any relevance. We should all feel shock and grief, even if it's not the inconsolable grief a loved one feels. As all Jews are called to remember on Yom Ha'Shoah, today -- and this may may seem cliched or hokey to some -- today, we are ALL Virginia Tech, all Hokies.

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