67 years and 4 days ago, my grandfather helped lead a revolt in Mauthausen concentration camp. Their success saved tens of thousands of lives from the Nazi’s last minute attempts to liquidate the camps.
67 years ago, after losing 20 million of its citizens, Russia laid the final blow to Nazi Germany ending the greatest catastrophe in human history.
67 years ago, my grandmother exhaled a breath she had held through the longest siege in human history, the deadliest battle in human history, the loss of her husband, the loss of her child, dystrophy, evacuation, return, and another two years of siege.
67 years ago more than 2 million soldiers lay down their weapons after selflessly forgoing food, warmth, comfort and self preservation, for the sake of freedom and liberty of those around the world.
67 years ago every person on the planet became aware of the worst of what we are capable.
67 years ago should have been the last time humanity allowed itself to contradict the very nature of life.
67 years later we find ourselves on the brink of global conflict once again.
67 years later we seem to have forgotten what it’s like to say goodbye to our fathers and brothers and husbands.
67 years later this day, which should serve as an eternal reminder of what we are capable and towards what we should be working, is passed by like any other day.
67 years later I feel a deep shame for our preoccupation with ourselves and our neglect of those who gave themselves for our sake – not so that we may repeat our mistakes, but so that we could learn, and preserve life instead of destroying it.
Take a moment away from updating us on what kind of coffee you are buying, or what you are wearing, or to what song you are listening, or how shitty you think your day is going, and read about the worst and the best of what we are capable. Then go find someone over the age of 85 and thank them for your very life, and promise them that their sacrifices were not in vain – that you will take heed and do all that you can to ensure that you will never forget and that such a tragedy will never happen again.