Because of them our Nation has a State

Today is the eve of Memorial Day for IDF soldiers and victims of terrorism.

Written in big letters on the front page of today's newspaper, giving tribute and honor to Israel's fallen soldiers
Written in big letters on the front page of today’s newspaper, giving tribute and honor to Israel’s fallen soldiers

Tomorrow night Memorial Day becomes Independence Day. The contrast is harsh, painful and deliberate.

Because of them, thanks to them, the Nation of Israel has a State.

(23,320 soldiers killed from a nation of 7 million is a huge amount. No family can remain untouched…)

Memorial Day for Israel’s soldiers comes exactly one week after Holocaust Memorial Day which comes one week after Passover. The pattern is deliberate and purposeful, it is necessary to remember the past in order to appreciate the present and prepare for the future.

We must remember slavery to understand the true value of freedom.

We must remember that the most civilized nation on earth could create the living hell of the concentration camps. We must also remember that when the world went mad there were still those who did not go off the cliff. There were those that retained human decency and those that endangered themselves to save others.

We must remember the soldiers that died so that we might live.

Throughout the ages Jews have been murdered simply because they are Jews. The promise of the State of Israel is to provide safety and protection for the Jewish people. Even today Jews are not safe – not in Toulouse, London, Kansas or even Israel. The more than 2000 year old hope to be a nation, free in our country has not yet been realized…

Usually forgotten but important to recognize and honor are those that overcame. Their battle is no less heroic than that of the soldiers on the battlefield.

Those that survived, those that went on with grief in their hearts and horror in the memory, they are the ones that enable this nation to exist and even thrive. This is true for the Holocaust survivors as well as the survivors of the wars and all the terror attacks Israel has and is being subjected to…

I can only try to imagine the difficulty of creating a new family after witnessing the murder of your family and friends – each new child both a joyous victory and devastating reminder of the dead.

The ability to laugh and smile after being immersed in horror is the unsung heroism of the survivors.

The ability to continue living and create new life and reasons to celebrate is the ultimate triumph of the bereaved. The gaping wound of a beloved child, husband or friend killed never truly heals but other aspects of life can be strengthened.

Our vulnerability and our wounds prompt the building of unparalleled strength of spirit.

Because of them. Thanks to them.

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