A recent article estimates that over 22,000 Israeli soldiers have died for their country since its establishment in 1948. In the last year alone, the Israel Defense Forces – along with the rest of the nation – has mourned the loss of 40 soldiers.
On Yom HaZikaron (which begins the evening of May 4 this year), we will pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, honoring them for their bravery and their humanity.
What many don’t realize is that Yom HaZikaron also serves as a day of mourning for those who were killed as a result of terrorism.
For the families of murdered soldiers and terror fatalities, it is a very emotional time of year. It is also very lonely. Though thousands mourn the loss of loved ones, the pain is personal and isolating.
It is for this reason that OneFamily organizes an annual campaign to “prepare” the graves of fallen soldiers and victims of terror in advance of Yom HaZikaron. Several days before Israel’s Memorial Day, OneFamily volunteers visit every grave – beginning at Har Herzl and ending at Har Hamenuchot – leaving behind a memorial candle and a letter.
It is not enough to remember every soldier and victim – their families must know that others share their pain, that we all mourn together with them.
The fallen are our brothers, sisters, sons and daughter. We may not share blood, but we are all one family.