Twice a year a simple question shakes me to my core,
With heights of joy and depths of dread I’d never felt before.

Their birthday candles burning bright, my two young sons review,
How many years until they stand to shield the white and blue.

“When will we don the olive green and serve our blessed Land,
With David’s Psalms upon our lips and warfare tech in-hand?”

“Soon enough,” is my reply, “Your turn is not yet here,”
Their future service, though my pride, as well my greatest fear.

Since ’48, our families have buried many heirs,
Both boys and girls, young righteous souls, forever in our prayers.

The parents of these heroes, though quite stoic for our sake,
Mourn daily for their vanished kin and strive to nurse the ache.

The families of victims, both here and overseas,
Share that pain as they relive what brought them to their knees.

Senseless violence launched in waves strikes deep at our resolve,
Breaks our spirits, thrashes hope, as we watch man devolve.

But then we look into young eyes, where Zion still burns bright,
And we remember why we struggle, why it’s worth the fight.

Mankind progresses, hope advances, the future brings relief,
Our children hold the keys to peace, the antidote to grief.

Soldier, student, volunteer – they wear the same beret,
A matchless corps, a soulful force that keeps the pain at bay.

We agonize, to let them go, to let them leave the nest,
To serve, protect or simply live a life like all the rest.

And yet the truth, that bitter pill that we must swallow whole,
In life or death they are our strength, it’s their G-d-given role.