. . . when he gave his life in defense of a building, a people, an ideal, the resolution - "Never Again!" For something like the Holocaust to never happen again people must be told, people must remember, and even though Officer Stephen Tyrone Johns was only doing what he had been doing for 6 years, drawing a paycheck by ensuring security at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., he probably never thought he'd give his life to defend the people who had come to be told and to remember. I could go on about the nobility of his sacrifice, the sorrow I feel for his family and friends, how inappropriate it is that his 14 year old son ended up giving an on the spot TV interview the day after his father was killed (and carried it off admirably) and the idiocy of the shooter and his convictions never mind the tragic irony that Officer Johns was killed by the very man he had shown kindness to but I wouldn't be saying anything that already probably has been said probably better than I could say it.
Mr. Johns will hopefully be remembered and memorialized by many and hopefully for a long time to come in many ways but Ketzirah Carly in her blog entry Stones not Flowers reminded me of a very Jewish form of commemoration - instead of leaving flowers we leave stones. I encourage everyone reading my entry to go read hers. Tonight, before lighting Shabbos candles, I will light a memorial candle and recite kaddish for him but I also will be sending a stone to the Holocaust Museum because I think it is important for them, and all who see what will hopefully be heaps of stones, to know how much this man's sacrifice is valued. I hope that the Museum, who I am sure will recognize the significance, will find a way to use the stones in building a monument to this man, to goodness and kindness in the world, even if it's only a cobblestone pedestal with a plaque. Along with the darkness we must remember the light.
The address at the Holocaust Museum is:
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW
Washington, DC 20024-2126