WASHINGTON - US President George W. Bush on Wednesday honored Professor Liviu Librescu, an Israeli Holocaust survivor who died trying to keep a gunman from shooting his students in a killing spree at Virginia Tech University.
Librescu, an aeronautics engineer and teacher at the school for 20 years, saved the lives of several students by using his body to barricade a classroom door before he was gunned down in Monday's massacre.
“That day we saw horror, but we also saw quiet acts of courage,” Bush said at a memorial service held at the US Holocaust Museum to a crowd that included many survivors.
“We saw this courage in a teacher named Liviu Librescu. With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety. On the Day of Remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so that others may live. And this morning we honor his memory and we take strength from his example.
'You who have found refuge in a Jewish homeland'
President Bush continued to say that, “This is a place devoted to memory. Inside this building are etched the words of the prophet Isaiah: You are my witness. As part of this witness, these walls show how one of the world's most advanced nations embraced a policy aimed at the annihilation of the Jewish people.”
Turning his attention to the Iranian nuclear threat, the American president said, “You who bear the tattoos of death camps hear the leader of Iran declare that the Holocaust is a myth. You who have found refuge in a Jewish homeland know that tyrants and terrorists have vowed to wipe it from the map. And you who have survived evil know that the only way to defeat it is to look it in the face and not back down.”
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and newly appointed US ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, were also on hand for the Holocaust memorial service.
Associated Press contributed to the report