Monday, April 15, 2013

Israel Memorial Day

Soldiers observe the minute of silence.
From: www.jewishjournal.com via google
Today is Memorial Day. We remember all our soldiers and victims of terror who have fallen.

When I was growing up in England we observed the minute of silence on 11.11 every year. It was for soldiers who died during the two world wars, 1914-1918 and 1939-1945. It was a minute and then it was over. It had all been such a long time ago as far as us children were concerned.

In Israel every family knows people who have died either defending our country and keeping the rest of us safe, or in terrorist attacks. I think the situation is also a little different in England since I left because of the Falkland War, Iraq and Afghanistan but, not to compare, we are a country of 7 million and the old adage of six degrees of separation is about three too many.

Every boy and girl has to serve in the army. It's not a career choice, it's a necessity. Even if your son is the most sensitive, non-athletic type he will have to toughen up in order to defend his country and defend us all. And they go with pride. And we are proud of every one of them. Some of them never come back.

My peers were in the army during the first Lebanon war in 1982. A close friend has spent every Memorial Day since then, along with other members of her unit, visiting the families of comrades in their unit who never came back. Over 30 years later but they are still honoured and remembered for their courage and selfless sacrifice.

At the college where I teach, I was invigilating an end of year exam. One student was pointed out to me by my head of department. "This student gets extra time if she needs it, she may leave the room and come back, whatever you can do to help her." A young girl recently married, she was widowed when her husband was shot by terrorists whilst driving home one day.

So many wedding photos over the years with the family gathered with a framed photo within the photo. The son who died in the army who is still part of the family and should have been there.

The teacher at school who had the first day of the new school year off in order to take her 5 year old niece to her first day in big school. Both parents had been killed in a drive-by shooting on the road to Eilat.

My 14 year old student and daughter of my friend who was blown up while buying school books in the centre of town.

My plumber who lost his eldest daughter when a bus stop was blown up one night as she waited for the bus home.

I dedicate this post to all our soldiers. To their parents who hold their breaths for three years and never turn off their phones. I thank you for a country where I can walk the streets even after dark and feel safe.

To all the victims of terror, victims of war, and their families. My heart breaks for you.

3 comments:

  1. So moving. So raw. So terrible.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So moving. So raw. So terrible.

    Just shocked into silence reading this post.

    ReplyDelete