A Hidden Memorial by Michael Ceraolo



Euclid Creek Book Four

          A Hidden Memorial

Even when the leaves have fallen
you can't see it from the streets:
                                                 the trees,
and an earth mound,
                                block the view
Nor, for some reason
                                (probably
some ridiculous zoning regulation),
is there signage by either of the drives
entering the center's parking lot

David Berger grew up around here,
                                                    then 
went away to college and earned
bachelor's and advanced degrees,
all the while competing as a weightlifter
He finished fourth in the Olympic Trials,
just missing making the team
for Mexico City in 1968
Soon after graduation
he emigrated to Israel,
                                  and
he did make the Israeli Olympic team 
and competed in weightlifting
in Munich in 1972
He was one of the eleven Israelis
taken hostage, and then killed, by terrorists

In 1973
the David Berger Monument Committee
commissioned David E. Davis,
a sculptor who came from Romania
as a teenager in the 1930s,
to create a monument
Davis devised a work
using the five Olympic rings
broken in half
It would be completed and installed
at the Cleveland Heights Jewish Community Center
in 1975,
             and designated
as a landmark by Cleveland Heights
on October 28, 1979
That was not to be its only recognition

Public Law 96-199,
approved March 5, 1980,
was enacted
                      "to establish
the Channel Islands National Park,
and for other purposes"
One of those other purposes
was covered in Section 116 of the law:
"The Secretary of the Interior
shall designate the David Berger Memorial
located at the Jewish Community Center
in Cleveland Heights, Ohio,
as a national memorial
The significance of the memorial in preserving
the memory of the eleven Israelis athletes
who were assassinated at the Olympic Games
in Munich, Germany, in 1972 is,
by this designation, recognized by the Congress"

A second JCC,
                       the Mandel JCC,
had been built in Beachwood in the mid-1980s,
and when the Cleveland Heights JCC
closed in 2005,  
                       the memorial
was moved out to the Beachwood site
and re-dedicated September 10, 2006

On my recent visit it was raining,
which somehow seems appropriate
in the same way I've always thought
it should be raining at funerals
                                               But
the rain and other weather
has done its damage:
                                  the metal
has rusted in many places
and needs to be re-painted,
                                         and
hopefully will be restored
when the weather permits

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