Sunday, April 18, 2010
That Terrible Day
Posted by JoeSettler
And there are good days in the army and bad days. And sometimes days that seem bad turn out to be good. And sometimes days that start off good, go bad.
Your first Shabbat out of the army, walking around town with your uniform and gun – good day.
Your first Shabbat stuck on the base when you expected to go home – bad day.
Getting stuck all day with kitchen duty – bad day, until you realize in retrospect how much fun you actually had – good day.
The day you spent without sleep and endless guard duties and other menial tasks – bad day.
Your first day in Lebanon – scary day, exciting day, fun day, long day, good day.
The day you kill your first terrorist on his way to murder Jews – great day.
Calling Jameel from Lebanon or Gaza to brag a bit - an even better day.
But there is one day that is marked by what my mother calls “that terrible day”.
He had enlisted with me. We weren’t close, we only occasionally spoke, but at a time that I needed some good advice and someone to talk to, he happened to have been there at just the right time, had the exact right thing to say, and the right advice to give.
The last time I saw him was in Jerusalem. He was across the street going in the opposite direction. I had gotten back from the latest mission, and I assume he was back from his. Time was short and we both wanted to get home for Shabbat, so we just waved to one another and continued on our way.
Back on the base I heard the news.
Just barely a week after I saw him, he was murdered by terrorists.
Till then, the army was fun and games. Life was fun and games.
But this was reality. This was a good person, who signed up to save Jewish lives and defend the Jewish people, and here he was, murdered by terrorists, not in combat, not in a fair fight, but in cold blood.
I remember the details of that day. I remember every conversation I had on the base. I remember where I sat, and where I walked.
I found a payphone and called my parents collect. We spoke all night. I don’t remember about what. I just know that we spoke. It helped. But it didn’t change anything.
My mother calls it “that terrible day".
I can’t give meaning to the day he was murdered and I can’t give meaning to his murder. He was murdered simply because he was a Jew. He was murdered simply because as an IDF soldier he represented the Jewish people and represented defending the Jewish nation.
It’s been years, and life has gone forward, yet there is still a hole from where he was ripped away.
I remember that terrible day. I remember it as "that terrible day".
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