Monday, May 5, 2014

From Remembrance To Independence

Today in Israel is Remembrance Day for our fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. Tomorrow is Independence Day. This is not by chance. Before we celebrate we remember that people have paid a heavy price for our independence and continued safety.

As usual I went to a school ceremony. Usually I go to the school where I used to teach but this year I went to DD's school where the kindergarten were included. It's heavy because of the subject and even more so because, unlike last week's Holocaust Day ceremonies where we know the survivors, every adult and many of the children know, or know of, someone who has died.

It starts with the 11 o'clock siren. I remembered a story from last year where one of the teachers told the school about her sister and brother-in-law who were shot dead in their car by terrorists as they returned home one evening. It happened one July. Her story ended with, "On September 1st it wasn't Mummy but me, Aunty, who took Sara to her new school to start First Grade"

I had to stop myself thinking of it as it was making me cry. I needn't have worried, there were many parents already with tears on their cheeks.

In today's ceremony they showed slides and read out the names of the 13 students from the school who later lost their lives in too many wars since 1967. (The school was founded in 1950.) The children read poems and sang sad songs.

At the end we sang Hatikva (The Hope) and announced Independence Day 2014 - 66 years! This is what Israel is today. I am proud to be a part of it.

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