Last week I accompanied my granddaughters sixth grade class to the Oklahoma City Memorial of the bombing of the Murrah building and the cold, senseless murder of 168 men, women and children. We had been there before – I had taken her and my grandson there a summer or two ago because I believe it is important, growing up in Oklahoma and Oklahoma City specifically, that they know about this event and the impact it had on not only our community, but the world. Out of the chaos and the hideousness of the murderous act has come a setting that is beautiful, serene and tastefully done. It is a fitting memorial to those who lost their lives, a place of remembrance for their families, and a testimony to all that is good, pure and wholesome of Oklahoma.
As I walked with my granddaughter to the bronze wall so she could look for her hand print that she had placed there on our last visit, we talked about why this had happened. I explained to her that this is what hate does. Hate kills. We talked about the fact that the murderer – I won’t dignify him by using his name – wanted to kill people. He could have gotten his point across by bombing the building at night when there was no one there, but instead, he decided to do it during the day when people were at work and innocent children were in the day care center happily playing. These people didn’t have to die but they did so because one man hated.
Later in the day, I was speaking with one of the mothers that had been with the group and we were talking about the comparisons between here and Israel. The only difference is in Israel there is a memorial to their dead soldiers – killed by hate – every fifty kilometers. That’s a lot of memorials, a lot of dead men and women, snuffed out in their youth, at the hands of those who hate them for the simple fact that they are Jews. It is sad. It is tragic. It is needless. But it goes on and on.
Israel is not the aggressor. She wants desperately to live in peace. Israeli mothers tuck their babies in bed at night praying that by the time that little son or daughter is old enough to go into the IDF (Israel Defense Force) there will be peace. And mothers and fathers weep over the graves of their youth, lives snuffed out too quickly, lives that will be forever young. In their grief they cry for understanding, in their heart they know it is because there is no other place for Jews to go.
Books have been written. Stories have been told. Songs have been sung about the loss of those loved ones, and memorials have been erected. Memorials that never should have had to be. Memorials that are tear stained. Memorials that will stand through the halls of time as they bear witness to the tyranny of hatred.