“Memorial to the executed children of Lidice” by Marie Uchytilová
This sculpture moves me in a profound way.
This is what art is meant to be: something that moves us to know more, to be better, to never be silent in the face of evil, to continue, to hope, to mourn, to dream, to believe in something greater than our own selfish interests, to find beauty, and to cherish it.
These children were beautiful, with lives and dreams ahead of them. They and their families were murdered by evil men in 1942 as an example of what would happen to those who dared oppose them.
But the people kept opposing those evil men.
They kept fighting for their families, for their communities, for their country.
As our country argues, fights, and tears itself in two over money, politics, dogma, and foreign interests and contemplates being a foreign aggressor against another country tearing itself in two over differing beliefs, politics, money, and hate I can only conclude that these atrocities and the lessons we thought that as the human race we had learned from them have been in vain.
The greed and vanity of men, the prejudice and contempt of the proud for the humble of the earth, and the hate and vilification of one another has become the hallmark of our race…If you believe that what you see in the news feeds is all there is.
But it isn’t all there is.
There are families all around this world who find themselves buried in the financial ruin of a failed economy, buried in the shell of a mortared apartment building, buried in the masses of people seeking something, anything, that gives them hope, comfort, or strength to keep going; and they find that help in the hand of a neighbor, a friend, in their faith, in a community that cares, in family members who serve one another in love.
That kind of help is the only kind that changes the world.
Bombs won’t rebuild a country and pride won’t restore peace.
We are teetering on a precarious ledge friends.
The days ahead will test our love for one another, our faith in humanity, and our willingness to put pride aside for kindness.
No matter what decision Congress or the President makes we as individuals, families, and communities will have the same personal choices to make. Because whether we strike or stand down, the hungry and wretched of the earth will still be with us.
Those families that hurt, that suffer, that need, will still be reaching out.
Living children, children just like those in this statue who are now beyond the hands of those who would harm or heal, are in very real need.
Do we help? Do we try to do something, anything?
I ask myself this as I look at this statue because it is a reminder that there is not always another time to stand up and do the right thing.
There is not always another day to put our hands and hearts to the work of God.
Make the decision today to be a person who makes a difference in the world. Not because you finally have enough money, time, or strength, but because the world needs you just as you are. Stand up for what you believe in, speak up for what is true and good, speak a kind word to a child, call a neighbor and find out if they are okay.
We are only as strong as our love and concern for one another.
68 years ago we had enough concern for one another that we swore as the family of man “Never Again” to the atrocities of war, to the blind prejudice and hate that leads to it.
But we can never let go of war as a people until we pick up something else instead. Let it be love for one another that we pick up. Not just because our neighbors think, act, or believe as we do, but because they are a part of our family.
And because all are precious.