April 29, 1945: RETRIBUTION AT DACHAU. Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the American liberation of Dachau, a Nazi concentration camp about 10 miles north of Munich. At the time of liberation, the camp had reportedly 32,000 prisoners consisting of men, women, and children. The successful takeover by Allied troops of Dachau and other camps previous to it, including: Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen, and Flossenburg would lead to the suicide of Adolf Hitler and eventually Victory in Europe Day one week later on May the 8th. The American divisions utilized in the liberation included the 42nd Rainbow Division and 45th Thunderbird Division, both of the U.S Seventh Army, as the 20th Armored Division provided support as well. However, although they were incredibly tough soldiers, the sights, sounds, and smells of the concentration camp was too much to handle for many of the 45th as they arrived at the gates. These men had experienced 511 days of combat before entering Dachau, but even the atrocities of battle had not emotionally prepared them for what they would experience on the 29th of April. Lieutenant Colonel Felix Sparks describes what he saw: "During the early period of our entry into the camp, a number of Company I men, all battle hardened veterans became completely distraught. Some cried, while others raged. Some thirty minutes passed before I could restore order and discipline." In reflection of this event, there is a natural desire to want a feeling of celebration and optimism, however the prevailing feeling is of loss and despair. It's hard to avoid putting yourself in the American soldiers' boots as they discovered their first concentration camp and the overpowering raw emotion that hit them as they came face to face with the reality of human potential for evil. However, I challenge those reading this to reflect not only on the horrendous atrocities that was the Holocaust, but also the overwhelming and ultimately overpowering goodness that was the Allied forces in efforts of liberation. Ultimately it is through the simultaneous reflection of both good and evil that we grow, learn, and better ourselves as individuals and as a society.