As I stood at a ceremony for the fallen last night, I looked at my eldest son and wondered what the future held in store. We stood together at Bar Ilan school in Kfar Saba. It’s the school that Lt. Hadar Goldin had attended. My son graduated 6th grade at Bar Ilan last year. And standing with him last night made me wonder if the parents of Lt Goldin had thought the same thoughts and had the same fears while standing in exactly the same spot during previous Yom HaZikaron ceremonies at the school.
Every year at this ceremony, like so many other ceremonies taking place at the same time around the country, the names of fallen soldiers are read aloud. Each name representing a human life and each human life connected in some way to the people standing together to pay their respects. When the last name to be read was said out loud, there were gasps of breath among the crowd and many people shed a tear. This was the name of Lt Goldin, the most recent former Bar Ilan graduate to lose his life in battle.
I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one for whom reality hit home. This, in my opinion, is the biggest fear of every parent. It’s the reason that even now as I write this post tears are welling up in my eyes. Is it selfish to want something different for my children? For them to live full and long lives in peace? When my son was born I remember hoping that maybe by the time for him to serve will come, that just maybe, a guaranteed peace would be with us. Now, as the time draws ever closer, the hope of peace seems like a desert mirage, fading on the horizon. I wonder how many other parents felt the same.
Tonight will see the transition from commemoration to celebration. The commemoration of the people who lost their lives so that we could live in a land called Israel and live to celebrate the Independence of our tiny Jewish State. Intertwined with Yom HaShoah a week earlier, our existence is jaded and so completely messed up. Before we had a homeland six million men, women, children and babies were murdered – their only crime was being Jewish. If we would have had a homeland perhaps things would have been different. After thousands of years of persecution, now that we have a homeland, a Jewish State, it is politically incorrect and even thought of as racist to preserve the State’s Jewish identity.
With all the everyday hardships that go hand in hand with living in our tiny State, there is no place I’d rather be. It is at times like these when we stand together, mourn together and celebrate together, that I feel a great pride to have the honor to live in our Jewish homeland.
My plea, my wish, my hope, my dream is that one day no more of our children, our parents, our brothers and our sisters will be taken from us prematurely.