A legacy of perseverance: MacDill hosts Holocaust remembrance event

The MacDill Chapel hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Day event May 3, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

The MacDill Chapel hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Day event May 3, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. The theme this year was ‘a legacy of perseverance’ where the focus was on the stories of those who persevered in the face of tragedy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

Mr. Arthur Sheridan speaks at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day event May 3, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Mr. Arthur Sheridan speaks at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day event May 3, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Sheridan, at 18 years old and a part of the U.S. Army 20th Armored Division, helped to liberate the Dachau concentration camp. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The MacDill Chapel hosted a Holocaust Remembrance Day event May 3, 2018 at MacDill Air Force Base Florida., this year’s theme was ‘a legacy of perseverance.’

The event focused on remembering the lives and stories of those who did not survive as well as those who persevered in the face of tragedy. The goal was to focus on the people and not the statistics.

To kick-off the event, the invocation was given by Rabbi Lazer Rivkin followed by his son Rabbi Levi Rivkin performing a memorial candle lighting ceremony.

The second part of the day consisted of a Holocaust account from Arthur Sheridan. He was 18 years old and a part of the U.S Army 20th Armored Division, when he and his fellow soldiers liberated the Dachau concentration camp.

“We busted through the walls and were met by a whole group of emaciated men and women but at that point we had no idea what this camp was about,” said Sheridan. “We continued through the camp and were shocked by what we saw.

“We couldn’t understand what we saw, but we immediately tried to administer food and medical for these people, but we weren’t equipped to take care of that many individuals.”

After Sheridan’s speech, Col. Troy Pananon, 6th Air Mobility Wing vice commander, presented a certificate of appreciation and coined Sheridan.

To conclude the event, there was a name reading ceremony to honor some of the people who either perished or persevered during the Holocaust, followed by a benediction and closing remarks from the base chaplains.

“For this event, I really wanted people to take away that people were greatly affected and to learn more than just statistics,” said Staff Sgt. Davin Peeples, a coordinator for the event. “I had the opportunity a few years back to go to Israel and that changed my perspective. I hope this will do the same for others.”