The story of grandchildren of Holocaust survivors getting tattooed was one of those that I approached rather cautiously at first. Whether you approve of tattoos or not (and for the record, I don’t) the survivor tattoos are different. They aren’t so much “body art” as they are a mark of… not honor, not even of something special. They are a mark of survival in the face of pure evil. An evil that my generation has never faced.
That’s really the crux of the matter. The reason some young people are getting these tattoos is because they know nothing of the Holocaust. As one said, “It’s like the Exodus to us.” Something that happened, but of which they were not really a part.
I speak almost everyday of the loss of history in our own nation, the disconnect that we have from the very reasons why there is an America in the first place. And I often adopt mannerisms, styles and even words of the Founders to remind me of those foundational purposes. In that I find an opportunity to remind myself and anyone who asks me about them why they are important.
In many ways, these tattoos are the same reminders. In a world in which so many of we Jews say “Never Again,” are not such symbols a connection to that spirit and that determination?
I can accept that. And in a faith tradition that does so many things “as a reminder to all generations,” the grandchildren an great-grandchildren of survivors taking upon themselves the mark meant to degrade and dehumanize which became a symbol of overcoming the worst of human nature, is okay by me.
And if Hashem wanted us to forget about it, he would have wiped Jews off the face of the Earth. He didn’t. He helped us to overcome the evil.
Now we have to remember.
So the first day of 2014 is the last day of my vacation. The great thing about this time off has been that Ben and I have spent so much time together having fun, sharing the events of the Holidays and just flat out playing.
I think that he knows that it’s almost over, this morning it was as if he was trying to pack every game we’ve played into the morning. I started writing down all the things he was asking me to be and I kept saying, “No, I’m just your Daddy.”
About ten minutes before Cami got home and just as the Parade was ending, he climbed up in my lap and said, “You’re my Daddy.”
I was going through some boxes and I came across this, the citation for the Sip’s Battle “E” Award in 1986. Yes, this was the era of the Captain B***s***k “Battle E homage to the “A-Team” TV Show. But we did work pretty hard.
It was also around the time we convinced Captain B***s***k that the missile fizzle drills were “not possible” as scenarios. Followed, of course, by that damn Soviet Yankee boat managing to blow up a missile in the tube and not (immediately) sink itself. So much for that training plan change.
And it was shortly before the 31st of October, 1986, at 1725 when we had just finished my first ever Mongolian BBQ dish.
I grew up in he 1970′s so I like the eras rock-n-roll music despite my parents deliberate attempt to direct my musical tastes elsewhere. In 1979 they purchased for me a “hi-fi” stereo player – which today would be a record player with two speakers – and a record alum that they weren’t sure what was but they knew that it wasn’t The Beatles. So they figured it must have been okay. Even if they didn’t know exactly who the Rolling Stones were, but they must have figured that they would gather no moss.
Ben is growing up so fast. It was what, a year ago that I was complaining about how unsafe playgrounds really are. Now he approaches new climbing stuff cautiously, looks it over and then tries it out. Within minutes he is climbing as if it were second nature.
I love how confident he is becoming. Like most three year old’s he is very demanding about “doing it myself, daddy.” It seems like just yesterday that he couldn’t walk and was tipping over full mugs of hot tea into my lap. Now he is running Cami’s laptop like a pro, watching and learning online.
I’m really proud, but I also miss that really little boy that always wanted me to hold him…
Posted in Ben, Family
I used to be afraid of the climbing gear when he was so small… now, he’s scaring the crap out of me…