The ceremony was held at noon on Monday, April 8, as it has been held in Alexandria every year since 1988, as part of the national and international remembrance of victims of the Holocaust. The celebrations came about as a result of the U. S. Congress's commitment to establish official remembrances of one of the darkest chapters in human history. Nazi Germany systematically murdered six million Jews and millions of others were also brutally killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.
“It’s not so much that we should remember the millions that were killed during the Holocaust but the fact that it started one person at a time,” said Alexandria Councilman David G. Speck. “When one person is treated differently because of what he looks like or where he lives or where he worships, it can and will happen again, one person at a time.”
The ceremony featured reflections from two holocaust survivors, one who lived in hiding in Holland, much like Anne Frank and the other, who went from safe house to safe house. “We are getting to the point that fewer and fewer of these people are alive to share their stories,” Speck said. “That’s why the Speilberg project is so important.”
Mayor Kerry J. Donley also spoke. “It is very important that we in the city take time to look beyond our small portion of the world and reflect on what has happened in the past and is continuing to happen,” he said. “We are all horrified by what happened during the Holocaust and yet, too many times since 1945, similar atrocities have occurred. It is good to take a day and look back and share the stories with the next generation of Alexandrians in hopes that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past.”