Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Top Brass at Yad Vashem

Yesterday the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen visited Yad Vashem (Mullen’s second visit in recent years) at the Admiral’s request.

As the delegations arrived at the plaza at the entrance to Yad Vashem, there was a group of some 50 soldiers and high school students who were leaving the International School at Yad Vashem and were asked to wait on the side for a few minutes while the delegation arrived and entered the museum. Lt. General Ashkenazi arrived first, and, spotting the soldiers and students off to the side, he headed directly over to them to the sound of cheers and clapping from group. Several minutes later, Admiral Mullen arrived and he too, went to greet the group, and said, “It is a great thrill to be here, and to be back in your country. I have a great relationship with your chief of defense. As I look around at your very bright eyes and your very young faces, I just want you to know that one of the reasons we do this is to make sure your future is secure.”

After his visit to the Holocaust History Museum and Children’s Memorial, Adm. Mullen remarked: “I just want to express my appreciation to all those who have worked so hard to make Yad Vashem possible. It is such an important place to remember the tragic side of humanity and we are so committed to making sure nothing like this ever ever happens again...I specifically asked to make sure in a compressed tour that I could see the children’s part of the museum…So much of what we are focused on, all of us who serve in any country, is a brighter future for our children…It is an honor for me to be here with Gen. Ashkenazi, and all those who have sacrificed so much for your country’s future and made such a difference for the future. It’s very special.”

Gen. Ashkenazi added, “It is a privilege and an honor to be here with Adm. Mike Mullen, my colleague, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States, who is also a dear friend to myself, and the IDF, and the State of Israel…I think both of us understand our commitment that such an atrocity should never happen again.”

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