HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Seventy-three years is a long time to wait for a medal, but that doesn't matter to "Chick" Havey. He earned it when he was a GI in the 42nd Infantry Division liberating the Dachau concentration camp.
"The dead were overwhelming. There were bodies everywhere," he said while clutching a book he wrote about his experiences during the war.
He still has the letter he sent his mother containing a newspaper article about his unit's entry into the camp. He was one of several camp liberators or their relatives getting medals from holocaust survivors. It's to commemorate the opening of a new exhibit at the Holocaust Museum Houston curated by Texas Tech. Almost 500 Texas veterans who liberated camps.
Dr. Kelly Zuniga with the museum says it more important now than it's been in a long time to remind people that the Holocaust, it's survivors and the liberators still have lessons that are relevant today. Relevant, but are slipping out of our collective memory. Hate crime rates are increasing.
"Yes it's on the rise. Over the last ten years there have been increases, dramatic increases over the last two years. So yes, it is and that makes our mission even more important."
Perhaps it’s more difficult than ever. A recent survey showed that two-thirds of millenials don't know what Auschwitz was and recently Nazis held a violent march in Charlottesville, Virginia. Havey says he thinks the those embracing the politics of hate are misinformed, and he thinks authorities in Charlottesville mishandled the situation.
"If I had my platoon with me or my company? It would’ve been fix bayonets and that would've been the end of it. They'd be run off the streets."