The new US national security adviser emphasized the practical historical lessons one must learn from the Holocaust.
US President Donald Trump announced on Monday the appointment of Lt. Gen. Herbert R. McMaster as national security adviser, replacing Gen. Michael Flynn.
McMaster, 54, is a West Point graduate who served overseas in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the course of a decorated 30-year military career.
“He is a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience,” Trump said of McMaster. “I watched and read a lot over the last two days. He is highly respected by everybody in the military, and we’re very honored to have him.”
He has been in Israel several times and visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, at least three times.
McMaster is known as a soldier-scholar, as is evident in the address he gave in August 2012 at the dedication of a new Holocaust exhibit at the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, Georgia, dedicated in memory of Colonel Aaron Cohn.
The 3rd United States Cavalry, under the command of Cohn, liberated the concentration camp at Ebensee, Austria.
McMaster focused his words on the importance of remembering the Holocaust and its practical implications.
“In the Germany of the 1920s and 1930s, humanity was eroded by xenophobia in general and anti-Semitism in particular and then, in the 1940s, gave way completely. The scale of the human toll, the suffering during the Holocaust, is really unimaginable — six million Jews, five million others systematically murdered,” he said.
He then recounted briefly the history of World War II, leading up to the point of the liberation by the Allies.
“We should celebrate the end of this horror — it was a real victory for our nation and for all of humankind. A victory won by men like Judge Cohn. But this memorial and this museum also reminds us that victory in war is only possible through sacrifice,” he underscored.
In World War II, the US military sustained almost 300,000 battle casualties and about 100,000 deaths from other causes. The war lasted 2,174 days and claimed an average of 27,600 lives every day, or 1,150 an hour, 19 a minute, one death every three seconds.
“As our fellow citizens enter this wonderful museum and come to this spot, I hope that they realize that the vast host memorialized here, the victims of the Holocaust — died one by one. And I hope that they also realize that the American soldiers, airmen, sailors and marines who gave their lives to defeat Nazi Germany and end the Holocaust gave their lives one by one and that they died for all of us and all of humanity. We must, as author Rick Atkinson has said so well, remember that every death was as unique as a snowflake or a fingerprint,” McMaster said.
“Our Army is a living historical community. That is why this memorial and this museum are important to us. The American soldiers memorialized in this great Infantry Museum and those serving today are both warriors and humanitarians. Colonel Judge Aaron Cohn was a warrior and humanitarian,” he stressed.
McMaster ended his address by quoting Proverbs (22:1) “A good name is to be valued more than riches.”
“We come together to commemorate the human tragedy of the Holocaust. And we also come together at this memorial and in this great Infantry Museum to celebrate two good names — Colonel Aaron Cohn and the American soldier,” he concluded.