In a sharp break from Memorial Day, we celebrate Independence Day. The transition is harsh but that is the way of truth – facing the reality of the price we pay for freedom is very hard:
The Silver Platter
my translation of the Hebrew poem by Natan Alterman
And the land will grow still,
the heavenly eye, red, slowly dimming over smoking frontiers,
and a nation will rise up, heart-torn but still breathing,
to receive the miracle, the one, there is no other…
As the ceremony draws near, the nation will stand in the moonlight,
before the day is draped in celebration and in horror.
And across from the people will step out a youth and a lass,
and slowly march toward the nation.
Dressed in battle gear, dirty,
shoes heavy with grime,
they ascend the path quietly.
They did not change their clothes or wipe away with water,
the traces of the exhausting day and the night in the line of fire.
Endlessly tired and finding no solace,
yet dripping with their Hebrew youth…
Both standing without moving
showing no sign to reveal if they are alive or if they’d been shot.
Then the nation, awash with tears but enchanted
Will ask: “Who are you?”
And the quiet two will answer:
“We are the silver platter upon which the Jewish State was given.”
Thus they will say and fall at the feet of the nation,
Wrapped in shadows,
And the rest will be told in the chronicles of Israel
Words cannot encompass the full Israeli experience. “Celebration and horror” are a good choice of words to begin the explanation… Yesterday we focused on the “horror”, the loss and deep sorrow. Today we focus on the “celebration”, the miracle of Israel and all that we have accomplished and new heights we wish to achieve.