For two weeks in June, 17 students from College of the Ozarks will be traveling to Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. They will accompanied by three Holocaust survivors and four WWII veterans who helped liberate concentration camps.
Follow along as the students, veterans and survivors visit Auschwitz, Mauthausen, Dachau, and other sites last seen nearly 70 years ago, passing their stories of courage and sacrifice on to the next generation of Americans.
Friday, June 1, 2012
So it begins... The moment we have been
waiting and praying for since February. We are excited to embark on a
new journey, one that few will have the opportunity to witness. We
are still overwhelmed by the mere opportunity to meet and speak with
such incredible people.
Our Veteran's name is Dr. Hall Duncan.
We had the pleasure of meeting him prior to our departure. Hall is 88
years young and so full of life. The night we were introduced we had
dinner together. We were lost in conversation as the restaurant
closed around us.
Hall served in the 101st
Regiment of the 26th Infantry Division. He was stationed
in France when he was shot carrying a wounded soldier. He even met
General Patton while hospitalized. In these two short weeks, we look
forward to sharing in these emotional moments of remembering history
with our Veteran.
Although, Hall has a list of
achievements too long to mention, he places his relationship with
Christ above all. Hall was saved at an early age and was raised in
church. He has learned from all of his life experiences and strives
to be the best he can be. “I believe everybody has a story to tell
and sharing that story is a part of God's will for our lives,” Hall
said. And that is exactly why he is here.
The Holocaust is something that far too
many disregard, or just see numbers and statistics when discussing
the Jewish genocides during World War II. We are learning more and
more that it doesn't matter how many statistics you can memorize or
how much knowledge you get researching the war. What matters is
realizing the stories of the real men and women who lived through it
and holding those close to your heart. They are daughters, fathers,
mothers and sons who have been forever changed because of these
events. Spending these past hours with them has given me an
appreciation and reverence that I can hardly explain. We can't even
fathom the depths of emotions they must have felt.
We have a job while we are on this
trip; not one that is offered to many. Our job is to learn and record
as much as we can so the stories and recollections of the greatest
generation live on. People often say that history repeats itself, but
by raising awareness in my generation, we are making sure that we do
not experience another Holocaust.
Words cannot describe our excitement
for the trip. We are truly thankful to embark on this journey of a
lifetime. Please pray for the receptive minds of the students and
strength for the Veterans and Survivors. Also pray that these
stories, and more importantly, the lives of these Victims, Survivors
and Liberators, can be remembered and passed on to future