Secretary of State
April 16, 2015
Teresa and I join all Americans today in observing Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day. We bow our heads as we both mourn and honor the six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the most painful and horrific chapter in human history.
We lack the power to rewind the clock or to bring back those who were murdered. But we do have the power of remembrance, and we will never cease to honor the memory of those who were killed, to grieve their loss, and to cherish their names.
We remain indebted, as well, to the Holocaust survivors who, despite unspeakable trauma, continue to recount their painful experiences so that the passage of time does not lead to the forgetting of what must never be forgotten. We also draw inspiration from the reality that every child of every survivor is added testimony to the utter failure of Hitler’s evil plan.
I was profoundly moved in 2013 when I visited Yad Vashem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-President Shimon Peres. A siren wailing through Jerusalem and then a nation standing together in silent reflection signify a profound tribute to the fallen, and a call to consciousness for us all, now and in perpetuity.
For us, then, remembrance is the beginning, not the end of our responsibility. The duty we have is an active one: to work with countries and partners around the globe to fight bigotry wherever it arises, to confront aggression, insist on truth, uphold the rule of law, and promote respect for the rights and dignity of every human being.