One of the sad stories of the Independence War (and the early years of the State) was the many soldiers who died 'alone'. These soldiers had come from the ashes of Europe, and were the lone remaining branch of their family trees. With their deaths, their family lines ended, and there was sadly no one to remember these unfortunate souls. Last year, My Israel put a plan into action where Israelis would go to the graves of these soldiers and honor their tremendous sacrifice for the State of Israel. This year, I had the privilege of being a part of this tremendous initiative.
We had 5 grave to visit at Har Herzl. The routine at each grave was short and to the point: we read Tehillim (Psalms), said Kaddish, read the biography of the person and then said El Maleh Rachamim. I was deeply moved by these stories. Bustling lives in Poland, or Romania, or Czechoslovakia straight to the horrors of the Holocaust, and being left alone in this world. They had nothing left to live for ... except the dream and hope of building Israel. That is what pushed each one of these boys to the Mandate, and to the Army to ensure this country survived. That's where these stories ends unfortunately. Their blood would sadly become part of the roots that allowed this tree to grow into what it is today.
So I had a chance to remember them ... To thank them ... To cry for them ... To pray that their sacrifices, and those of the 20,000+ Israelis who've died to make this dream a reality, will never be forgotten ... Yizkor ... May your dear memories forever be blessed.