Today is the Day of Remembrance in Israel, known by Israelis as Yom HaZikaron. On this day we remember the 23,340 sons and daughters, friends and lovers, sisters and brothers, that fell in the defense of the state of Israel. We remember the families, for whom every day is Memorial Day.
For those of us that served, our minds forever return on this day to scenes of mother’s crying at the graves of sons who died too young, 21-gun salutes, and the final goodbyes to lost brothers in arms.
We remember the words of Saul Tchernichovsky:
“Take you the best of our sons, youth’s vision of purest worth, Pure of heart, clean of hands, not soiled with filth of earth, The fabric of their lives still weaving, with hopes of a day more fair. We have none that are better than these.”
On this day, I remember the funeral of Jordan Bensemhoun, the lone soldier from France killed this summer in Operation Protective Edge. His family asked that only close friends and family attend the funeral. 30,000 Israelis showed up to send a strong message: The nation of Israel is one close family, united behind our soldiers, and in our hope for a better tomorrow; one in which our children can live peacefully and prosperously in Eretz Yisrael. I remember today and always the words of Natan Sharansky at Jordan’s funeral: “Your son is our son. Your brother is our brother.”
Take a moment today to tell your family and close friends how much you love them and what they mean to you. None of us knows when our time will come, and if anything good can come from so much sadness, perhaps it is that it is not too late for us to share our feelings, make amends, and pledge to live life to the fullest in memory of those who are no longer among us.