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I read “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” many times. I took the story to heart and hoped to someday visit the secret annex where Anne spent two years of her life before she perished in a Nazi concentration camp. A few years ago my wish came true when my husband and I visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam. As we stood in line to enter we spoke quietly with others from various countries; our lives had all been touched by Anne’s story.

Do young girls still read this book and feel the connection to her? Do teachers assign it and librarians recommend it? I hope so. Through this book, young people get a sense of what it was like to be persecuted for being Jewish in Europe during World War II.

Another person in the book who made a big impression on me was Miep Gies. She was one of a few people who brought food and sustenance to the group in hiding, choosing to risk their own lives by doing so. Miep was Anne’s friend and lifeline.  A few years ago, I was excited to see that an elderly woman being interviewed on television was Miep Gies, still alive and telling the story of what happened so many years ago.  Miep said she was not a hero, but I respectfully disagree. She helped to show the world what an individual could do; her life influenced young people who read about her actions and her kindness. She was a role model above and beyond the usual meaning of the term.

Sometimes we get reminders that the horrors of World War II are not that far away in time or place. Miep Gies passed away yesterday. Farewell to Anne’s extraordinary friend, a brave woman.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-01-11/miep-gies-dutch-woman-who-found-anne-frank-diary-dies-at-100.html

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I am blessed with friends from a variety of backgrounds; thank goodness!  I think it would be so limiting to be part of a group overly similar in age, taste, political persuasion, etc.   When people with a range of life experiences are part of a conversation, they bring an array of perspectives to the table.  Interactions become more interesting and enlightening.

Some of my friends are the children of people I’ve known for years.  They were once the little kids playing in the background at our get-togethers, but who are now adults themselves.  I guess they are my second generation friends.  It is enjoyable to see them come into their own.

I want to bring to your attention the exquisite photography of my second generation friend, Ashley, a gifted artist, who is receiving national recognition for her work.  Visit her blog at: http://bottlebellphotography.blogspot.com

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