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ADAB remembers the Holocaust

Brig. Gen. Larry R. Broadwell addresses the crowd.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Larry R. Broadwell, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) commander, addresses the crowd during a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2021. The 380th AEW held a 24-hour walk and a flag folding ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust and honor those affected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsmen assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing perform the presentation of the colors

U.S. Air Force Honor Guardsmen assigned to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing perform the presentation of the colors during a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2021. The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Brig. Gen. Larry Broadwell, Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Wiener and  Col. Jeremy Reeves walk for a Holocaust Days of Remembrance event.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Larry Broadwell (left), 380th Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) commander, U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Wiener (center), 380th AEW command chief, and U.S. Air Force Col. Jeremy Reeves (right), 380th AEW vice commander, walk for a Holocaust Days of Remembrance event at Al Dhafra Air Base (ADAB), United Arab Emirates, April 8, 2021. Members of ADAB were given the opportunity to walk an hour around the fitness track in shifts totaling 24 consecutive hours. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miranda A. Loera)

A fact sheet is displayed at a Holocaust Days of Remembrance walk

A fact sheet is displayed at a Holocaust Days of Remembrance walk at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 8, 2021. The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miranda A. Loera)

Members from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing walk

Members from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing walk for a Holocaust Days of Remembrance event at Al Dhafra Air Base (ADAB), United Arab Emirates, April 8, 2021.ADAB held a 24-hour walk and a flag folding ceremony to commemorate the Holocaust and honor those affected. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Miranda A. Loera)

Dr. Elie Abadie addresses the crowd.

Dr. Elie Abadie, United Arab Emirates senior rabbi in residence, addresses the crowd during a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2021. During his benediction, Abadie spoke about the Holocaust and reminded those in attendance all humans are equal in the eyes of God. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Senior Airman May Zamora Castillo folds a U.S. flag during a ceremony.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman May Zamora Castillo, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Honor Guardsman, folds a U.S. flag during a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2021. The U.S. Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

Alex Peterfreund addresses the crowd during a ceremony.

Alex Peterfreund, Jewish Council of the Emirates co-founder, addresses the crowd during a ceremony commemorating the Holocaust Days of Remembrance at Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates, April 9, 2021. During his address, Peterfreund recounted his father’s experience as a young Jewish boy in Europe during the early 1940s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Zade Vadnais)

AL DHAFRA AIR BASE, United Arab Emirates --

The past plays a major role in shaping people into who they are today. Remembering the events that took place years before can ultimately help ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

The Holocaust was a tragic moment in history that has impacted many families across the world. The U.S. Congress established “Days of Remembrance” to commemorate and honor those affected by the Holocaust.

Al Dhafra Air Base held a remembrance ceremony, April 9, to commemorate the tragedy, honor those affected, and remind attendees of the dangers of extremism.

“The Holocaust exists as a great historical tragedy in the minds of many, but it’s important to understand that this tragedy was engineered,” said Brig. Gen. Larry R. Broadwell, 380th Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “Humans were weaponized against each other in order to benefit those who sought power. In these days of remembrance, we can remember, if we listen. If we listen, we can learn. And if we learn, we can create a world that’s better both today and for generations to come.”

In attendance at the ceremony, and acting keynote speaker, was Alex Peterfreund, Jewish Council of the Emirates co-founder. Peterfreund is a Dubai local who is very familiar with the tragic events that took place in Europe during the rise of the Nazi party. In his speech, he reflected on his dad being put into hiding during the Nazi raids.

“For me this ceremony is very special, almost like closing a circle,” said Peterfreund. “My father was a young Jewish boy in the early 1940s. He tells me the story of when he was a child after he left the family who were hiding him during the war. He was brought to a Jewish orphanage in Antwerp and recalls the American soldiers who came and gave bananas to the children. The kids had never seen bananas so they threw away the fruit itself and ate the peel.

“This is a story I remember and now being able to commemorate my family and their history with American [servicemembers] again is closing the circle and means a lot to me personally.”

The ADAB community took the time to not only honor Holocaust victims and survivors through a ceremony, but also through a 24-hour walk/run. A flag folding ceremony closed out the Holocaust Memorial Days event.

“To honor the memory and to honor you. I’m proud of all of you today, fighting for freedom, not just for Americans, but for all civilization,” said Peterfreund. ”I would also like to give a special ‘thank you’ to this amazing country, the United Arab Emirates. A country of tolerance and a country that opened their doors and their hearts for us Jewish people to live here in freedom.”