Remarks by Secretary Hagel at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, Israel

JERUSALEM–(ENEWSPF)–April 21, 2013. 

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHUCK HAGEL:  Thank you.  Good afternoon.  First, I thank you for accompanying my visit here to this important, inspirational, beautiful institution.  I have brought my son, Ziller, with me on this trip.  And I particularly wanted him to accompany me here for this experience.

As you know, we all understand and appreciate that museums, remembrances, institutions, yes, are built to recognize, a tribute to, those generations of the past, but in particular the victims of the past.  But maybe more importantly, these institutions are built to instruct future generations.  They come together at an intersection that is important for all of us, as any one dimension or responsibility for each of us.

There is no more poignant, more touching, more effective way to tell a story than this reality, as painful as it is.  But it is a reality.  It did happen.  And we must prepare our future generations and our time here for a clear understanding that we must never allow this to happen again.

I’m grateful to Dr. Rozett for his very effective tutorial, and I had an opportunity to visit this museum on one of my last visits here to Israel, but not in the depth with the instruction that I just received. 

To all those who have been responsible for building this institution, I thank you, certainly on behalf of the United States.  I know President Obama was much touched by his visit.  I saw him a couple of days ago, and we talked about my trip.  He specifically mentioned his Yad Vashem visit. 

To the minister of defense of Israel, I thank you, and I — also the director general of this institution and all who lead this institution. 

If I may, I would end my remarks by reciting what I wrote in the book.  For my friends of Israel, thank you for this magnificent institution reminding all mankind of the depths of evil, but also the promise and hope and courage of man, a beautiful and important tribute to those victims of the past and the instruction and reminder to the generations of the future.  Your friend, Chuck Hagel, United States secretary of defense.  Thank you very much.