This week, President Donald Trump is in Israel, the second stop on his first foreign trip since taking office. On Monday, Trump visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, to commemorate the 6 million victims and take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance.
While there, Trump also left a note, following in the footsteps of other US leaders, including former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“It is a great honour to be here with all of my friends — so amazing and will never forget!” Trump wrote in a note signed by him and first lady Melania Trump:
On the left, via @RaoulWootliff, the note Trump just left at Yad Vashem.
Obama visited the memorial in July 2008, while he was still a US senator and presidential candidate.
“I am grateful to Yad Vashem and all of those responsible for this remarkable institution,” Obama’s note in the guest book read. “At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man’s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise up from tragedy and remake our world.”
It continued: “Let our children come here, and know this history, so that they can add their voices to proclaim ‘never again.’ And may we remember those who perished, not only as victims, but also as individuals who hoped and loved and dreamed like us, and who have become symbols of the human spirit.”
Bush visited Yad Vashem in January 2008, shortly before his second term ended. He, too, was brief.
“God bless Israel,” Bush wrote in his note.
According to the Associated Press, the memorial chairman said Bush had tears in his eyes as he toured the memorial, and he reportedly told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the US should have bombed Auschwitz to stop the genocide.
When first lady Laura Bush visited the memorial in May 2005, she wrote a longer message:
“Each life is precious. Each memory calls us to action to honour those lost. We committ (sic) ourselves to reject hatred and to teach tolerance and live in peace.”
Hillary Clinton went to the Holocaust memorial as Secretary of State in March 2009, following an election in which she competed against Obama for the Democratic nomination for president. It was her first Mideast visit as the top US diplomat.
“Yad Vashem is a testament to the power of truth in the face of denial, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of despair, the triumph of the Jewish people over murder and destruction and a reminder to all people that the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten,” Clinton’s note read. “God bless Israel and its future.”
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