Today our flag is on half mast.
These are such emotional days. Over breakfast today we all shared stories of people we remember on this day, Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and terror-victims. It really touched my heart to see the tears on the young cheeks of my children, deeply saddened by stories of people who so tragically had lost their lives in the fight for our country.
At school they had talked about a girl who had studied there, who later, on the same day as she started 8th grade, had happened to stand next to a terrorist with a bomb strapped to himself, and blew up with him and everyone around her. Then there was the woman who stood on a bus stop not far from their school, and a terrorist came and put a knife into her heart.
Abba told stories of people who he had served together with in the army. The guy in the bunk-bed below him, a father of several children, who was shot down and killed on the spot. The guy he had served with for many years, who had a young son and a pregnant wife at home, when he one foggy morning was killed defending our country.
I remember that morning very well. We had been married for four years. No children yet. My husband was in the army for reserve duty, I was home alone. Still in bed, I received a very quick phone call from my dear one in uniform. He just wanted to let me know something had happened on his base, I would hear about it on the news, he could not give any details, but wanted to let me know he was OK. That was it. I remember waiting for the 6.30 news on the radio, where we heard that one of our bases by Gaza had been attacked, and that some of our soldiers had been hit. I sure was glad I had heard from my soldier that morning, but my heart was already aching for those who would never hear from theirs again.
That morning four of our soldiers were injured and four were killed. I visited one of the injured ones at a hospital in Jerusalem. He was a lone soldier, a basketball-player, he had been shot three times in the knee. That was the end of his basket-ball career.
Later, after my husband was back from army duty, we went together to a memorial for his friend that he had served with for a long time. His little son was so cute. The whole story was so sad. This summer it will be ten years ago, and there will be another special memorial service.
Today we all remember the ones we were close to. Our neighbor remembers his brother, who was shot down by an arab who worked for him. Each one has his own special ones that he remembers. At the same time, we remember together. We are in this together. This sorrow, this remembrance, the fight for our country, the defense of our country, the building of our country. The remembering is a central part of our identity, of who we are.
There are ceremonies all over the country today. In cemeteries, at schools, it seems all of us somehow are part of it. We stood in silence at 11 o’clock when the siren sounded all over our country. People who were out driving or on the street, stopped in their tracks. We were at the school, and stood there together as the opening part of a very moving ceremony. We listened to songs and poems, remembered each of those who had gone to that school and later been killed in a war of terror-attacks. We cried together. Prayed together. Remembered together. Remembered those who are the silver platter on which our Jewish state is served to us…
Tonight, after 24 hours of intense remembering and honoring of those who have given their lives for our country, we will move on to celebrate our independence, our freedom, our country. This year we are celebrating the 65th birthday of the modern state of Israel. This is a fact that every preschooler in this country knows. Ask a Norwegian or an American five year old how old their state is, – would they be able to tell you? Maybe, maybe not. Israelis know.