This post appears today--in a slightly different version--on my Practicing Writing blog.
I am preparing this post on Wednesday night for posting early on Thursday. I have to be honest with you: I'm having a hard time focusing on anything but the terrible events that unfolded today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As some of you know, much of my writing--in every genre--has been influenced by my identity as the elder granddaughter of German Jews who fled to the United States in the late 1930s. I visited the USHMM shortly after it opened. At the time, I was especially moved by "Remember the Children: Daniel's Story," an exhibit that was designed with children in mind. (The fact that in the exhibit, Daniel's fictional sister is named "Erika" only added to the emotion of the visit.)
Although my sister's two children are still too young to understand this part of our family history, someday we will need to explain to them why the great-grandparents for whom they are named left Germany. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I've thought of bringing my niece and nephew to see the USHMM exhibit in Washington one day to help with that difficult task.
I am praying for the family of Stephen Tyrone Johns, the brave guard who stopped the shooter--and paid for that bravery with his life.