WASHINGTON (NNS) -- USS Theodore Roosevelt's (CVN 71) Diversity Team took 24 Sailors to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., May 6, during Days of Remembrance Week 2011 to give Sailors experiences and knowledge to share with the rest of the crew.
"This trip was a good opportunity to train Sailors about a difficult subject that is hard to teach on board a ship," said Lt. Richard Martinez, Diversity Team officer-in-charge. "It was a great experience for TR Sailors as they were exposed to real eye-opening and humbling stories."
Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation's annual commemoration of the Holocaust and created the United States Holocaust Museum as a permanent living memorial to the victims.
The Sailors were able to view the museum's 900 artifacts on display, and screen historic film footage and testimonials from eyewitnesses. Among the videos was footage from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp which gives visitors a glimpse of the actual experiences of the prisoners taken into captivity.
"I learned a lot about the Holocaust that I didn't learn in school or read in history books," said Operations Specialist Seaman Jonetta Hall. "I never knew that so many people were displaced and treated this way."
The diverse group of Sailors arrived at the museum anxious to get in and learn. During the tour, the Sailors became attentive and grew quiet and solemn as they processed the imagery and information they were taking in. Some of the displays gave graphic, yet accurate, accounts of the Nazi atrocities to the Jewish people, as well as to many other religious, political and social groups.
"To witness how the Nazis discriminated against a group of people because of their religion and political views just opened my eyes to some of the same things that are still taking place in our world today," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Brittany Stephensen.
"It was hard to see the things that these innocent people had to endure and not feel sad," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Faitutasi Faafoi.
The trip to the museum was arranged in hopes that Sailors would bring back their experience to share with the crew.
"This diverse group of Sailors who made the trip will come back to the ship, and tell and teach others about what they learned," said Martinez. "Hopefully, this will spark more Sailors to visit cultural museums and learn more about important parts of history."
Theodore Roosevelt is currently undergoing its scheduled mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries. During the 39-month maintenance period, TR's fuel will be replenished and significant upgrades will be made to the ship's combat and communication systems to extend the ship's service life for 25 or more years. All Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through RCOH near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.
For more information about USS Theodore Roosevelt, visit TR on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/USS-Theodore-Roosevelt/99861510779.
For more news from USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn71/.