Posted on Thursday November 9, 2006 by Steven Fischer
Here is the heartfelt speech Edward and Judy’s daughter Rose wrote for the November 8, 2006 preview screening of Freedom Dance at the Jewish Community Center in Baltimore. She and her sister Michelle Batt both spoke last night. The entire evening was, as Rose said, glorious!
I’d like to take a few moments to tell you about how much our parents’ life struggles and triumphs have influenced my sister and I in our lives. Their example taught Michelle and I to overcome any obstacle with determination and resolve.
Our parent’s arrival in America was only the very beginning of their quest for the American Dream. Once here, they had to figure out a way to survive! Watching them taught us tenacity. Through their example of hard work and dedication, we learned that we could accomplish anything we dreamed of in this country, if we work hard and put our heads to it. In fact, those exact words were the basis of our daily conditioning as children.
Life in American was not easy for our parents; they had to work long and hard to make their dream come true. When Michelle and I began to think that they were finally enjoying a few relatively carefree years, our little family was again facing insurmountable challenges. Within a week of my father, being diagnosed with Lung Cancer- his second cancer in his lifetime- I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer that had moved into my lungs. When faced with all of this terrible news, Judy and Edward were understandably distraught for a few days. Then, the very wonder and determination you saw in my father in the movie came back, along with the twinkle in his eyes.
He said that we would fight this “rohat cancer” together and we would VIN. Neither of us took on the “cancer victim” persona. Fortunately for my family, Dad’s strong character and his wicked humor runs in my veins, as well . This sense of humor that he passed along to my Michelle and I, has saved us many times. And I am sure it will continue to help us work through my father’s death, and the challenges yet to come for our little family.
As important as our father’s humor and optimism have been, our mother’s intelligence, determination, and “family-comes-first” attitude, has also been a big part of our lives. Her constant support of our father and her commitment to carry on his legacy, made her our father’s hero and the proud matriarch of the American Hilbert family.
They never thought of themselves as “victims”, they are “survivors”. Because of them, my sister and I are “survivors” too. The movie Freedom Dance is one example of something wonderful that can come out of such struggle. My sister and I are very proud to be part of their legacy. We know that my little niece, Emmy P, and her children and her children’s children will forever be the beneficiaries of Edward and Judy’s incredible legacy. Life goes on. What an incredible legacy!! What an incredible lesson. What incredible parents!
Thank you all for sharing this very special moment with our family. You can bet that Edward is with us tonight.