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Remarks by Secretary Cohen After Wreath Laying at Hall of Remembrance, Jerusalem

Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
April 20, 1998

It was very important for me to come here today, very important for me to pay respects to Yad Vashem, and to honor those who endured the darkness of the Holocaust, of the Shoah. Those who Israel remembers this week speak to us still. This poignant memorial may be in Israel, but their voices cast a message to the world. It is a mournful, painful voice recounting past suffering. It is also a strong, resonant voice sounding a warning for the future. A warning that unchecked hatred and unimpeded prejudice is not only a threat to those who are suffering at the hand of oppressors, but a threat to freedom loving people everywhere.

We best honor the dead by hearing this warning, and by standing firm against those who would insist that we drink the hemlock of hate. The American people hear this warning, we stand with you in remembrance. And yet, in the midst of this memorial, Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl, also recall the promise of hope and a progression from the destruction of the Diaspora to the light of Israel's future. A progression from repression to revival, recalls heroes past and hope for the future. Heroes like Theodore Herzl, heroes like Yitzhak Rabin, and I will pay tribute to Prime Minister Rabin today by laying a wreath at his grave. His work for peace remains an inspiration to all of us and a reminder that our commitment to peace must never waver.

It is a commitment to a just and lasting peace even when progress seems slow. It is a commitment that we undertake to fulfill our promises. Our promise to remember the past, and our promise to pass on to our grandchildren a better world. We can never forget, indeed we must never forget, the sacrifices honored by this hallowed ground. We stand with you in remembrance, we stand with you in reverence, and we stand with you for the future.

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