22 July 2012

Year 2, Day 202 (A Piece Of History Off The Beaten Path)

The other day (Friday, to be specific), after I had unloaded in Chattanooga, TN, I was told by Monica (my Fleet Manager) to head to Mt. Juliet, TN (just east of Nashville) to re-power a load from another driver, so that he can go home for his time off. Once Nathan and I were on the road, I received a call from the other driver. He informed me he would be there in Mt. Juliet at around 1530. Having mulled over a thought for a few minutes, I decided to take a slight detour - about 12 miles north of the interstate - to a small Tennessee town named Whitwell.

Whitwell is not a thriving metropolis by any means, but what drew me in that direction is one particular attraction they have: The Holocaust Memorial, located in front of Whitwell Middle School. I won't go into detail as to how that transpired, but I will strongly encourage you to rent (or purchase) the video Paper Clips.

For starters, to see the Memorial, just go to Whitwell Middle School (located at 1 Butterfly Lane, Whitwell, TN 37397), but for visitation after school hours or during Summer, you may get the key from Smith Brother Grocery, about 1 1/2 miles north on TN 28, about 2 blocks north of City Hall (both of which are on the west side of the highway). One thing that's very interesting to note is the Memorial is in an actual railcar, used by the Nazis (built in 1917) to transport the Jews, Polish, etc. to the concentration camps (I chose to take those photos in black & white, mainly for the feel of that era).

There are several plaques, both inside and out, giving different information, as well as memorials to this structure, as well as this tragic time in history.

Inside can be found not only the paper clips that were donated - symbolic of the 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust - but also several other interesting artifacts (note: the school has displayed the 6 million paper clips, but has had many more than that donated... they stopped counting after 30 million.).

One thing I found to be very emotional was their grasp of the Judaic traditions, by their addition of a mezuzah on the right side of the entranceway into the Memorial:

I took the opportunity to go on this detour for two reasons: a) I don't travel this way very often, and, b) it would be a very memorable experience that I was able to share with my youngest son... a piece of history that he can carry with him forever.

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