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NEWS | May 7, 2019

JBLE hosts Holocaust Days of Remembrance event

By Senior Airman Delaney Gonzales 633 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. – A still photograph captures a quaint farmhouse tucked away in the heart of France. A sense of peace seeps through the image; however, the picture has more to tell than what meets the eye.

Two young girls used this farmhouse as a place of refuge during a time of fear, war and genocide.

JBLE-Eustis hosted a Holocaust Days of Remembrance event April 29 to honor the survivors, the people who spoke out against injustice and the individuals who lost their lives during the Holocaust.

During these times of anguish, families were forced to make difficult choices in order to protect the lives of their children.

“My family, like so many desperate others at the time, had to make the drastic decision to send their children to a safe home away from the danger of war,” said Nicole Yancey, Holocaust survivor. “It is very unlikely that my mother would have trusted a stranger to take care of her two little girls have it not been for some tragic circumstance. And it is very unlikely that if my mother decided to keep her two little girls with her that we would have survived.”

“I’m here today as an adult, who in her early childhood survived a brutal carnage,” she added. “My story is not the only one.”

During the ceremony six candles were lit ceremoniously. Each candle represented one million lives lost during the Holocaust.

These figures shed light of the many stories that will go untold due to the heinous acts that occurred during the time period of 1933 to 1945.

“An event like this is important because we need to pause and take a moment to connect with our history,” said Col. Frederick Crist, 597th Transportation Brigade commander. “Being able to hear Ms. Yancey’s story allows us to connect to that really terrible period of time in a very personal way.”

Personal connections to stories of tragedies like this help military members understand the importance of answering the call to duty.

“The military members who participated in the liberation of the concentration camps brought an end of period of trauma to an entire group of people,” added Crist. “There may be a time where we are called to do something similar. So I think if we are able to focus all the time and energy we put into building readiness into something that’s tangible, it makes our day-to-day efforts more meaningful because you’re able to connect it to a bigger purpose.”

Survivors of the Holocaust are living pieces of history. Their stories can be used as a tool to learn from the past and move toward a brighter future, one in which diversity is celebrated.

We are all different, that’s what makes our wealth, concluded Yancey.