This weekend your local newspaper covered two events that seemingly have little in common, yet when you pause to reflect for a moment they are indeed connected, a connection that sadly speaks to just how little our world seems to have evolved in 75-years.
The first event was a familiar one, the annual ceremony at the Yorkton ceremony marking D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
For those unfamiliar with the significance of the day www.history.com provides some insight.
“During World War II (1939-1945), the Battle of Normandy, which lasted from June 1944 to August 1944, resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control. Codenamed Operation Overlord, the battle began on June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, when some 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed on five beaches along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified coast of France’s Normandy region ... According to some estimates, more than 4,000 Allied troops lost their lives in the D-Day invasion, with thousands more wounded or missing.”
It was the opening day of a campaign where Allied forces would liberate much of Europe from the grasp of Nazi Germany, led by Adolph Hitler, the man behind atrocities such as the death camps.
Nazi Germany primarily used six extermination camps also called death camps, or killing centers, in Eastern Europe during the Holocaust in World War II to systematically murder millions of Jews. Others were murdered at the death camps as well, including Poles, homosexuals, Soviet POWs, and Romani. It is estimated more than three million died in the camps.
Thankfully, Allied forces, including those honoured and remembered in Yorkton Saturday, prevailed and the evil of the camps was ended.
You would expect such a horror would profoundly change our world. You would think it would allow us to grow beyond a hatred of someone based on religion, on ethnic background, or who they fall in love with.
But, that is not the case.
A day prior to the D-Day ceremony a small group gathered at City Hall in Yorkton to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement which started in the United States after a police officer was involved in the death of a black man. The way the death happened is being seen as racially motivated by many, leading to protests and riots across the United States, with generally more peaceful gatherings of support in Canada.
At the root of the BLM protests is a question that given what happened in Germany during World War is why such hatred still exists? How do some people cling to hating others simply because they are some way different on the outside.
Inside, we are all human beings each trying to simply get along in this world, and if we learned nothing else from the horrors on the war, it should be that we need to get along as fellow human beings, clear of the hatreds of our past.