Happy Birthday, Judah Samet

Happy Birthday, Judah Samet

Happy Birthday, Judah Samet

Judah Samet was among the invited guests at the State of the Union tonight. He is a Tree of Life Synagogue survivor, as well as a Holocaust survivor.


As President Trump told his story of being a Nazi concentration camp and being liberated while on a cattle car by American troops, the president also mentioned that today was Judah Samet’s 81st birthday.

And then the most glorious moment happened.


Also included tonight during these moving moments was Pittsburgh police officer Timothy Matson, who was wounded by the gunman when he responded to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting.


Earlier in the evening, President Trump had introduced three D-Day veterans who were up in the gallery. It turns out that one of them, Herman Zeitchik, was seated next to another Holocaust survivor, Joshua Kaufman. And the president then told the story of how Zeitchik was among the American forces that liberated Dachau, where Kaufman was imprisoned.


Was anyone else suffering from extreme allergies in these moments? I know I was.

President Trump spoke of the courage of those who set out on D-Day, and then addressed those in Congress to get up and DO SOMETHING.

When American soldiers set out beneath the dark skies over the English Channel in the early hours of D-Day, 1944, they were just young men of 18 and 19, hurtling on fragile landing craft toward the most momentous battle in the history of war. They did not know if they would survive the hour. They did not know if they would grow old.But they knew that America had to prevail. Their cause was this nation, and generations yet unborn. Why did they do it? They did it for America — they did it for us. Everything that has come since — our triumph over communism, our giant leaps of science and discovery, our unrivaled progress toward equality and justice — all of it is possible thanks to the blood and tears and courage and vision of the Americans who came before.

Think of this Capitol — think of this very Chamber, where lawmakers before you voted to end slavery, to build the railroads and the highways, to defeat fascism, to secure Civil Rights, to face down an evil empire. Here tonight we have legislators from across this magnificent Republic. You have come from the rocky shores of Maine and the volcanic peaks of Hawaii; from the snowy woods of Wisconsin and the red deserts of Arizona; from the green farms of Kentucky and the golden beaches of California.

Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered? I ask the men and women of this Congress: Look at the opportunities before us. Our most thrilling achievements are still ahead. Our most exciting journeys still await. Our biggest victories are still to come. We have not yet begun to dream. We must choose whether we are defined by our differences — or whether we dare to transcend them. We must choose whether we squander our inheritance — or whether we proudly declare that we are Americans: We do the incredible. We defy the impossible. We conquer the unknown.

This speech was a throwing down of the gauntlet in more than one area – border security and abortion come to mind – but President Trump also just proved, in the deftest and most uplifting way, that unity is still possible. And maybe it just begins by singing “Happy Birthday.”

Happy birthday, Judah Samet. May your days be blessed and peaceful ones. Thank you for showing us all that there can be unity, even among politicians.

Featured image: Judah Samet (official White House Photo by Keegan Barber, public domain)

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