Monday, April 19, 2010

Yom HaZikaron

Today is Yom Hazikaron; Israel's Remembrance day for Fallen Soldiers.

I haven't much to say other than to express my gratitude for their sacrifice and my hope that peace will come in our days, so that no more young men and women will need to lay down their lives to guarantee our security.

The best way I can summarise the mood of the day is a turbulent mix of sorrow, pride and hope. Israel's army is one rather different from most others; it is a people's army. There are not that many people in Israel and as an army is needed at all times, most soldiers are not career miltary men but normal people who are called upon once or more a year to do reserve duty. As such, the whole country feels bound in some sense to the military.

It is often remarked upon that the United States of America and Israel enjoy a special relationship. I believe that this can be sourced to a certain tenacity and keen sense of justice that the countries share. Americans are aware that their country is democratic and liberal, and they are proud to this day for having shaken off Britain's shackles. Israel, too, is proud of it's having broken free and it's incredible flourishing. The positive, never-say-die attitudes of these two countries is only soured by the lives that have been sacrificed along the wau to realising these ideals.

As such, I don't have the slightest hesitation in sharing the peom below. I stumbled across it online a while ago. Although it was written by a former United States serviceman, I think it's relevant and beautiful. I hope you appreciate it as least as much as I do.


It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

© Copyright 1970, 2005 by Charles M. Province

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