|Curator's Corner — Visiting the Ohio State Holocaust and Liberator’s Memorial|
|Saturday, July 05, 2014 8:00 PM|
Tears of Sorrow, Tears of Joy
As we travel through this thing we call life, every once in a while we experience something that affects us deeply. Last month, I had one of those experiences. My wife and I joined with a group of about 2,000 people at the Ohio Theater in Columbus to witness the dedication of a new memorial that sits in the southwest corner of Capitol Square. The memorial was erected as a remembrance of the millions of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust and to the liberators who fought to end the rule of Nazi Germany.
I thought it was appropriate to write this column for this holiday weekend when we are celebrating our freedom. I know many of us realize just how precious that freedom is and to what lengths we will go to protect everyone’s freedom. We look back at that dark period of the incredible loss of life with the thought “never again.” How I wish that were true. I find it difficult to read the international news and to come to terms with the hundreds of thousands of people who are suffering under the tyranny of military dictatorships and genocide, often with the impedance that it is a religious mandate.
But that freedom we enjoy doesn’t rule out the conflicts we encounter, especially when we cannot select who will and who won’t enjoy total freedom. Case in point is some of the comments related to the erection of this memorial. As you might expect, there was a significant amount of controversy in both the government and the citizenry concerning the religious connection being made between the State of Ohio and the Jewish community. Unfortunately, we even heard of the organizations and individuals who insist it never happened.
As we watched the proceedings and listened to all the speakers, I realized the profound effect that bigotry and hatred have on all the nations of the world. As a faithful reader of this column, I am sure you remember my articles concerning the government (USPS) and the religious communities in the issuance of U.S. stamps. Stamps have honored many of the holidays of the world’s various religions and celebrated numerous historic milestones without trampling on any one individual’s or group’s rights.
There were numerous people who played a part in bringing this memorial to fruition. But regardless of your politics, regardless of your feelings for our state administrators, the push for this project came directly from Governor Kasich and his genuine desire to remember the sacrifices made by all during World War II. As several people spoke about the journey that was taken to bring this memorial to fruition you could see the emotion that filled everyone who touched this project.
At this point you may be asking yourself “Is this about postal history or just another editorial?” As we look back to 120 years of the issuance of commemorative stamps in America, it truly is a fresh look at the history of the world.
If you have the opportunity to stop in to the museum, ask to see the souvenir sheets that were produced concerning World War II. Each theater is described in detail chronicling the span of time and the magnitude of a world war. I hope you are just a little curious how extensive a collection of stamps on the war would be.
Take a minute and Google “U.S. stamps of WWII.” There are hundreds of images. You will probably see many of the other types of stamp and philatelic memorabilia that I have written about in past articles: ration stamps, defense department savings stamps and V-mail. So when I say: “the U.S. Post Office has been integral in so many parts of our lives - far beyond being a communications network,” a glance through those hundreds of images… well, you know what they say about a picture.
As you watched those fireworks explode, as you sipped your favorite beverage while having a cookout with all your friends and family, I hope you stopped for just a moment and thought just how lucky you really are. Hopefully every time you put a postage stamp on a letter (a letter that can’t be censored or opened by anyone except the recipient), you will be reminded.
Thanks, Dad, you’ll be remembered for your service.