I am saddened by the furor over President Reagan's plan to visit a German cemetery. The people of Germany are our allies. What better way to strengthen today's friendship with them than to dissolve yesterday's conflicts. Forgiveness and healing do not signify forgetfulness; rather, willingness to rise above the past to a brighter and more loving future.
It is well to remember that the German dead are no longer the SS; they are the moldering bones of men and boys caught in the vise grip of Hitler's nationalism. They are the relatives and loved ones of our German friends--individuals, no longer parts of the mercifully defunct machine they once served.
No one is proposing to honor the SS, Hitler, or the Holocaust. Rather, this visit is meant as a gesture of good will to Germany today. If we cannot show this simple act of kindness to our friends, how can we ever hope to make peace with our enemies?