When I was in the eight grade I participated in The Tolerance Program. It was one of my school district’s grand ideas of how to get rid of school violence, but only honor students were able to participate. Before conclusions are made, I was not labeled a bully. My guess is the school board wanted a highly successful first go at program. It was a great experience whether or not it served the prescribed objective.
For two months we read books about the Holocaust and then flew to Washington DC to visit the Holocaust Museum. My favorite anecdote from this day-trip (literately, 6am flight there and 9pm flight out) is that I was there for the DC Sniper. This was in 2002. No one had a cell phone, and we were shuffling around trying to hit every museum and monument we could. We had no idea what was going on until we got to the airport. All of us just assumed the multiple police sirens were standard for DC.
Back to the point, there are few things that get me upset. Most of those are things highly personal to me, but the one subjective event that makes me cry like a potent onion is the Holocaust. It’s difficult to describe something so vulgar. It’s astronomical numbers, like trying to explain how far away the closest star is. I remember sitting in those tolerance classes at the age of 14 and being mad, mad that something like this could happen. At the museum, I was over come with extreme sadness. The collection is truly difficult to get through. Most vividly of all, I remember this one hall way. It was a kind of bridge that allowed you to see all the way down to the ground floor and all the way up the fourth floor ceiling. On either side were framed faces coving the wall space like wallpaper. It was a visual, and it made me sick to my stomach. It gave the numbers eyes and smiles.
I got the same feeling last night when I watched SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993), so I may have cried a little. It won seven, well-deserved Oscars. Steven Spielberg has always impressed me with his movie-making skills, but this project is the highlight of his career. I read about three pages of facts concerning this film, and one revealed that Speilberg would liked to be remembered for SCHINDERL’S LIST if for nothing else. I find that an apt request. It’s a horrific film, raw and honest, and a film I should have watched before my ripe old age of 22.