He stood guard over a place which reminds us of the disastrous consequences of hate.
He was a hero.
I've been through that guard station at the DC Holocaust Memorial many, many times. I was grieved that such a comprehensive screening was necessary, but I understood then WHY it was necessary. Yesterday was a rather horrible reminder.
Never, never forget.
UPDATE: I get regular e-mail updates from the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and this arrived this afternoon--
Dear Museum Friend,
There are no words to express our heartache and shock over yesterday’s tragic events, which took the life of Officer Stephen Johns, who died heroically in the line of duty. Officer Johns was a loyal and devoted member of our Museum family, serving on our security staff for six years. Our hearts and prayers go out to his entire family. We closed the Museum today in honor of Officer Johns and our flags are flying at half staff in his memory.Sincerely,
We are grateful for the overwhelming support and expressions of condolence we have received from our Museum community, President Obama, and concerned citizens and organizations across the country and around the world.
We are also grateful to our officers who responded so quickly and effectively as they have been trained to do. The safety and security of our visitors and staff has always been our highest priority.
This incident underscores why the Museum is so important. The Holocaust did not begin with mass murder. It began with hate. The Holocaust reminds us of the dangers of indifference and unchecked hate—and that each of us has a responsibility to stand up to it. Nothing teaches that lesson more powerfully than the Museum.
It is unconscionable that such an act of violence, fueled by hatred, would occur at our Museum, a sacred place of memory. Yet, despite our grief and outrage, we will reopen on Friday with a renewed commitment to the urgency of our mission.
Thank you for your continued partnership and support.
Sara J. Bloomfield