This week has been designated as Days of Remembrance to surround Yom Hashoah. For those not familiar with this Jewish holiday, it is the day set aside every year to remember those who were lost in the Holocaust. So how, do you make something good come out of something so horrible?
This year the 2012 theme is
“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishth…for the wind passeth over it and it is gone.”The voices of the survivors and liberators will one day be silent, but their souls will be heard forever. Some of those liberators have never been honored as they deserve and for Kathleen Cowley it is a mission to bring a special honor to her father, Edward Cowley, and the other men of the U.S. Army 94th Infantry. The 94th liberated an area that held prisoners but was not designated after the war as one of "official" camps nor were they designated "liberators". There is no argument about this part of the story. Unfortunately, the designation for the 94th got caught up in Army and political rules and the designation fell through the cracks of officialdom until time ran out. You can read the story at the above link and in the letters below.
It will now take an Act of Congress to get these men named as "liberators" with a permanent place of honor in the National Holocaust Museum. Just the other day, Kathleen received a hopeful contact from the office of Senator Kennedy and this is her report on progress:
REQUEST FOR RECOGNITION OF THE 94TH INFANTRY DIVISION AS LIBERATORS.
I was finally able to get a hold of the military liaison I've been working with at Sen. Kennedy's office yesterday. She told me that the Congressional Research Center was not helpful and that they had hit a wall, as it is unchartered territory for them and not sure how best to proceed from here. So one of the aides in the office is to make this his sole priority for the next few days. Although as a matter of procedure they do not send people to the media, she told me that if CBS Sunday Morning News (she did seem to think this is their sort of story) were to contact them they would be very happy to speak with them. She feels this is an important "feel good" story that should be told and national interest would of course help this all along. It had previously been gently requested to wait and see what Sen. Kennedy could do so that he would be the one to present the case of the 94th before Congress. Yesterday she pointed out that Sen. Kennedy's time to put forth legislation is limited now but that this is very important, and if it comes to it in the near future, it might require an Act of Congress which they are willing to do but will be more helpful in that instance to contact other politicians willing to expend the time necessary. What I got from all this was to please pursue the media now and then we'll see where that takes it.So...... Her next step is to pound on the doors of the media and other political offices to get them to tell a feel good story about her father and the other men of the 94th somewhere in the middle of all the latest doom and gloom. As she says, "If it weren't for the brave soldiers of the 94th ( who helped save the world) and my dear Da that I adore and whose time in this realm is so precious, I wouldn't be comfortable to ask, but there is so little time for their stories to be heard." So the pounding continues until someone important wakes up and tells the tale and Congress gives these men the place of honor they deserve.
If you have any contacts out there in the great world of media or politics, a little assist in the pounding on doors would be deeply appreciated before the winds of time carry these men away from the chance of earthly honors. What you do matters. Please see below the letters to Senator Kennedy's office that started this campaign.
For those who would like to know more about Yom Hashoah, you can visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims. This year Holocaust Remembrance Day is Tuesday, April 21. You can read the full observance with video and the Presidential address. Take the time to read some of the stories collected at the National Holocaust Museum website. They include those of the families who lost members, those who were saved, and the memories of the men who liberated the camps.
Edward Cowley, Jr.
The Campaign to attain Liberator status for the 94th Infantry has its own blog.