It Never Stops

I wrote this in the days following the Paris attack in October. I hope you can read the tragedy between the lines.

it_never_stopsIn 1994, my husband John and I went to Europe and visited five countries.  Traveling with dear friends, we shared many of our observations, shared wonderful food and walked miles of cobblestone streets.  We found not only enchantment in these places, but also much educational history about the thousands of years endured before our visit.

On our last day in Munich, we visited the nearby concentration camp DACHAU outside of the city limits. Of course, we experienced the usual sadness and horror seeing the buildings, learning about horrific activities there and walking through the museum of artifacts and pictures of thousands of victims.  Many of the visual accounts still stand before me.

Late that evening, we boarded an overnight train to Innsbruck, Austria.  Stopping at almost every town, increasing speed to an unimaginable tempo and using the austere bathroom down the hall, our night journey seemed unending.  But as always, daybreak did arrive as we pulled into the Innsbruck train station. I was very relieved to stand still!

As we walked down the long, concrete walkway and out onto the busy street, we heard shouts and cannon fire.  Alarmed but curious, we rounded the station corner to witness hundreds of young, blond, blue eyed school students dressed in Nazi uniform attire.  If I could, I would have fallen to my knees in horror.  As tears welled in my eyes, I said “NO” loudly to my husband.  He, of course, looked at me in wonder.

What I was saying, was, “NO! Never again can we have this barbarous mind set in our world.“ Always starting with the young people, evil can pass through a crowd like a disease and engulf a generation like it did in the 30s and 40s with Hitler.  As the young men passed by in typical goosestep fashion, I wanted to throw my arms around each one of them and reel them into our group.  I wanted to protect them — but mostly us — from the threat of yet another monster dictatorship.  Yet, this was impossible!

Now that was 21 years ago and here we are in 2015!  Aren’t we enduring a similar situation in our modern world today?  I use the word “modern” carefully. Have we made any progress at all? Aren’t we still killing innocent people, forcing others from their countries and starving body, mind and soul though torture?  Think about it!

The tragedy of all this violence is this — it robs people of their future!  It removes dignity, it tries to kill the souls of its victims.  What is the answer?  I wish our leaders would find out and act on it.  Unfortunately, fire must fight fire in these situations.  Killing the monsters is the end goal but a lot of us innocents will suffer first.  I pray fervently to God to interdict His wisdom.  After all, He took down the walls of Jericho!

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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