web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



A Day of Agony

Memorial Day in Israel is not a day of picnics and sales or barbecues and fun. It is agony. It is pain.
Israelis stand still on the Ayalon Highway as a siren is sounded across the country to mark Memorial Day.

Israelis stand still on the Ayalon Highway as a siren is sounded across the country to mark Memorial Day.
Photo Credit: Roni Schutzer /Flash90

I went last night, as I do almost every year, to our local ceremony remembering Israel’s fallen. I’ve lived in this city going on 12 years. Where at first I knew none of the names, there are now three that I recognize, families that I know.

Each year, I am grateful that there aren’t more; desperately, almost embarrassing grateful not to be sitting up in the front.

“Who is sitting there?” Shmulik asked me last night. He’s been to these ceremonies before, but never paid attention. That is where the mayor sits, his assistants and deputies. The chief rabbis of our city and others. But most significantly, this is where the bereaved families sit. They are separated by a low barrier so they won’t be bothered, so they can grieve a bit in private, as they sit among thousands who have come to honor them and the sons and daughters they have lost.

The ceremony begins just moments before 8:00 p.m. It is windy and cool this year; sometimes it is unbearably hot. The park, where tonight there will be singing and dancing and fireworks, was packed last night for the Memorial Day ceremony. It is a unique and amazing yearly event – to cry with all your heart one day and then smile and dance and be happy the next.

We sit there knowing we will dance tomorrow night, knowing these families will not.

Young teenagers walk onto the stage, each carrying large Israeli flags. They are divided into two lines, each moving to the side of the stage where they will remain throughout the ceremony. A man comes to the front; I don’t know his name but he has a beautiful, deep voice – he will lead the ceremony, introduce each of the speakers and singers.

He tells us in a moment, the siren will sound and asks us to stand. He asks the parents to watch over the children so that they don’t make noise and for other adults to watch if children here without parents are overly noisy. Then there is silence. Thousands are waiting for the siren. We wait …

It begins with a quiet wail, gaining and reaching the top. Unlike the real air raid siren, the sound does not go up and down – it is an endless cry that reaches into your heart and fills your eyes. They burn and you try to blink them away. I stand beside one son; another is at home with his wife. What right do I have to cry? God has blessed me – my sons are alive and safe.

The siren ends – not abruptly, but as it began, a slow decline to silence. The flag is lowered and we are asked to sit down again.

More teenagers come forward – there are four this time. The two in the middle begin a slow recitation of the names of those we have lost from our city – there are so many, too many. The father of the last to fall is asked to say the mourners prayer and the audience stands again and answers “Amen” at the appropriate times.

The mayor speaks; others as well. Songs – horribly sad songs of love of land and family, of country of life are sung. Your heart breaks and you want it to end. You want to go home and never come to another ceremony, knowing you will be there again next year, and the year after, and after that.

In all the years I have been in Israel, I have missed very few. Perhaps when my children were very young, or I was pregnant and sitting on a hard floor for an hour was torture. I know when Elie was in the army, I couldn’t go. I couldn’t sit there and listen and think. I was ashamed of my cowardice and begged the families to forgive me.

The first time I went was in Elie’s last year in the army – when he went with me. That, somehow, I managed to do. Last night, I sat next to Shmulik and as with Elie, his being there gave me comfort.

Memorial Day in Israel is as it should be – it is not a day of picnics and sales. It is not about barbecues and fun. It is agony; it is pain. It is tears and sad songs on the radio. It is a candle burning in my house in their memory, and it is the constant knowledge that without their sacrifice, we would not sing and dance tonight. We would not be free, here in our land.

May God bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and forever keep them in His heart, as they are in ours.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “A Day of Agony”

  1. Grace Acosta says:

    Beautifully written, this made me cry too. What right to you have to cry, or me? Every right, because every son and daughter is one of ours, we are family. It is only logical that we share each other's pain, and hopefully lighten the burden for those who grieve the most.

    G-d bless the IDF and their families, may we all merit to see the end of tears – and the coming of Moshiach NOW!

  2. Grace Acosta says:

    Beautifully written, this made me cry too. What right to you have to cry, or me? Every right, because every son and daughter is one of ours, we are family. It is only logical that we share each other's pain, and hopefully lighten the burden for those who grieve the most.

    G-d bless the IDF and their families, may we all merit to see the end of tears – and the coming of Moshiach NOW!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS's response to President Obama's warnings came in the form of a movie trailer.
ISIS Sends Obama Fiery Video Response [video]
Latest Blogs Stories
rgds

Smear campaigns by people with agendas other than justice do not faze him; He does what is right.

Lebanon's Hezbollah terror organization, now fighting in Syria, says the presence of ISIS makes it "clear"  that it must remain to fight the brutal terrorist group.

Countries like Turkey, Europe and even the US have proven fertile ground for recruiting terrorists

Death to All (Zionist) Juice

How many times have you heard anti-semites spew words like Israel are Nazis, or what you are doing to the Arabs is worse that what the Nazis did to the Jews?!…

hacker

My blog, Israpundit, was hacked, and I had to move to a new domain…

There’s much confusion about the definition of Daas Torah; simply put it means the wisdom of Torah.

We’ll never be able to negotiate a true, lasting peace with the Arabs.Their aim is our destruction.

Now I live in a country where every shop in the food court is kosher! I can have anything I want!

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Jordan: Only M.E. country with no historical basis and ruled by occupiers placed by European powers.

Why is an IRA a worthwhile account for retirement? And how can you use it to the best advantage?

Like the fighter pilot’s letter, I wonder if certain units are simply too sensitive to allow certain leftwingers to serve in, and to entrust in their hands the security of our country and our lives.

There is only one thing more tragic than experiencing a terror attack, and that is allowing those who attacked you to do it again!

Smuggling Gazans into Europe is cheaper than fighting with Gaza, and then rebuilding all the destruction.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

Why did I feel so uncomfortable around people with special needs? It’s not like they’re contagious.

The US government ignores Saudi policies, focusing narrowly on Saudi oil and military cooperation.

More Articles from Paula R. Stern
rock-throwing Arabs Flash 90

It’s time to let the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) protect our citizens.

Siren

I listened to what was supposed to symbolize a massive missile attack – sirens wailing all over Israel.

While there are many heartwarming tales told about Egged, sadly, the less than amazing is often more the norm.

The area around Rachel’s Tomb has been fortified, cement barriers erected to protect those wishing to pray beside her grave.

A response to Ahmadinejad’s vitriol from a Jew of Persian descent.

The upcoming President’s Conference has a rich list of speakers and unlike some others, I personally don’t think Stephen Hawking will be missed.

If anyone is restricted in Jerusalem today – it is we Jews, who are not allowed to move our lips in a whispered prayer, on the Temple Mount. But for today, I will think of the greater celebration.

What do you do when you find yourself in a no-win position?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/a-day-of-agony/2013/04/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: