There is no way to describe the pain and difficulty that envelops Israelis as Memorial Day descends with a minute long siren. For a country still struggling after 59 years to find some peace and quiet, this day is a solemn reminder to the heavy price we've paid in order to 'be a free nation in our land.'
This past summer's war left us with more stories of bravery and camaraderie. Be it the heroism of Lieutenant Colonel Ro'ee Klein z"l or the commitment of Michael Levin z"l, our boys once again proudly stood up and were counted in the most trying of circumstances. But sadly, yet again, their blood helped irrigate the soils of this holy land. And so, as I listened to names and speeches during Ra'anana's memorial service, I wondered to myself how the families of our beloved fallen are looking at this. In our eyes, they're heroes, heroes who gave up their lives in order to let us fulfill ours. But what about their loved ones' eyes? Was it 'worth' leaving behind his parents to cry on his grave for years without end? Was it fair to leave his children to be raised without a loving, caring father? I don't have answers to these questions - it is not for me to judge or even try to really rationalize. But I do know however that these soldiers gave up their, as well as their families', happiness and future so that we could have ours. We are here, and will continue to be here, because of the sacrifices these brave souls have made. May the memory of our 22,305 fallen heroes be forever blessed.
Here are the faces of our fallen from the Second Lebanon War:
A highway in Israel during the 2 minute siren:
"We remember our fallen, on this day, and every day"
IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.