Columnists

Apologies and an Explanation

Hello, my name is Joe LaRue. Many of our regular readers know that I am the managing editor here at The Times. For those more sporadic readers, it is nice to meet you. I have not written a column before, though you will occasionally see my byline pop up on news stories. So, a column from me is certainly unusual. I am writing this in response to something that happened this week.

Before I address that, I need to offer an explanation. As part of each edition of The Times, we have a daily almanac that appears on the front page. It includes, among other things, a section called wacky holidays. Typically, these are exactly what that heading entails: national cucumber day, international day of puppy chow and so on.

But on certain days with major holidays, I will put a non-wacky holiday simply to remind folks or make those who are unaware of it, aware. In the past, the almanac has included Good Friday, Valentine’s Day and Arbor Day, among many other examples. I do not consider any of these holidays wacky, as I expect none of you do either. Even so, I choose to include them because, well, it would seem oblivious on our part not to mention them.

It’s a big world, with lots of people and lots of holidays. This part of the almanac is a quick and easy way to offer people a reminder. And up until now, we have not had issues with it. That changed this week

From late Wednesday night to Thursday night, Israel and the world observed Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is an annual holiday, celebrated on the 27th day of Nisan, the first month of spring in the Hebrew and Babylonian calendars. As part of our daily almanac for Thursday’s edition, I chose to include it under the wacky holidays section.

This was a mistake, and for that I sincerely apologize.

Yom HaShoah is not ‘wacky’ in any way, shape or form. It is a holiday meant to remind us of the terrible cost of hate and indifference when it is allowed to fester and go unchecked and unchallenged. It is also a reminder of the unimaginable death and destruction wrought by the very worst evil to visit humanity in our history. And for Jews and non-Jews around the world, myself included, it is a solemn day to remember and reflect.

There is no justification, there is no explanation and there are no excuses I can offer. But I will say this: I spent Yom HaShoah at a high school in another part of the state listening to Holocaust survivor Frank Grunwald share his story with high school and junior high students. I also had the opportunity to meet him and his wife and ask some questions. It was an experience that humbled more than any I have had in my life.

For our fellow Sagamore News Media publication, the Paper of Montgomery County, I wrote a story about that experience that was published yesterday. If you would like to read it, you can do so by going to this link: https://thepaper24-7.com/2022/04/holocaust-survivor-speaks-to-southmont-students/.

As a final note, I will say this: I am new to Noblesville, and very few of you know who I am. Certainly no one here knows me well. But those who do know one thing: the only thing I want to do is work in news.

I make my living telling stories and keeping people informed about the world. I am not perfect, nor am I an expert. I have made mistakes before and I will make them again. But I am incredibly fortunate that this is my passion. Very few jobs require public feedback to inform and improve their work. This is one of them. To those of you who reached out and expressed your concerns, thank you. It was a mistake, you were right to point it out and we will adjust our ‘wacky holidays’ section header to say ‘Today is…’ This is more encompassing and neutral and will prevent this from happening again.

To those I hurt, to those I offended and to those who I disregarded, I truly am sorry. I, and The Times, will do better. We must.

Joe LaRue is the managing editor for The Times of Noblesville and a proud member of the Wabash Mafia. You can contact him at joe@thetimes24-7.com.