Poster Translation: "We will remember each and every one."
During the time of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans, a plague killed 24,000 students of our great sage, Rabbi Akiva, in this seven week period between Passover and Shavuot. Over the centuries, the Jewish People experienced many more tragedies (massacres, pogroms, ...) during this seven week period. To commemorate these tragedies, we observe a period of semi-mourning during at least the first 32 days of the counting of the Omer. Weddings and other festivities are not held, music is not heard, and hair is not cut. The Israeli government also decided that today would be an appropriate time to honor our fallen soldiers.
As a mother I cannot imagine any greater tragedy than loosing a child, especially to something as seemingly senseless as war! And just thinking about the 23,000 Israeli mothers who have lost sons in the 62 year history of our country is enough to make us want to beseech the heavens with a sincere request: enough, please!
That said, Israel is a small country surrounded by enemies, and defense is unfortunately a fact of life! I sincerely hope that no more soldiers will be lost in war, and that no more families will have to suffer from the tragedy of loosing a loved one. Words certainly can't consul, but I can say that those who have lost their life, will always be remembered, after all we are still mourning the tragic loss of Rabbi Akiva's students who passed away almost 2,000 years ago!