Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Memorial Day: Mourn, Comfort and Remember

The air-raid siren's blare last night at 8:00 PM found me as I was driving home on the mountain roads of the Shomron.

I pulled over to the side of the road, turned on the car's hazard lights, got out and stood next to my car under the dark sky. Other cars also stopped, their driver's got out, and we stood silently listening to the siren.

So what do you think about during the siren? Once upon a time, I used to say tehillim to myself to honor the memory of the IDF soldiers who fell defending Israel. Yet the one minute siren is so short, many more thoughts last night reverberated in my head.

The first time I heard the siren in wartime was when the scuds fell in January 1991; wearing a gas mask and watching TV reports of where the Iraqi rockets landed....were they chemical or conventional warheads?

Sirens in Tzefat during the Lebanon war 2 years ago when Hizbollah Katyusha rockets landed around the clock, scorching the Galil.

A terror attack in Hevron's Mearat HaMachpela this past sukkot.

Soldiers who died fighting for Israel -- so many funerals in the past 17 years. Some soldiers I knew personally, some I admired from afar, others were fellow members of Kitot Konenuyot, the counter-terror units that respond to terror infiltrations.

And then there are the civilian casualties. Israel's Memorial Day also commemorates the victims of Arab terror; the bus bombings, stabbings, shootings, infiltrations, kidnappings, hijackings...the rocks and Molotov cocktails as well. Friends, neighbors, and strangers killed and wounded -- at the wrong place at the wrong time.

All those thoughts packed into instant.

The siren's wail ebbed away.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


Nedra said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Though I am not in Israel to hear the siren myself, your words left me with a lump in my throat.

Baila said...

This was my first siren as an Israeli. I cannot begin to describe what was going through mind as I shared this moment with my fellow citizens.

Everyone has been telling how amazing the chagim are here in Israel (and they are). But the last three days--Yom Hashoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzmaut have been the most poignant for me.

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