Soldiers pray at the Western Wall, source here.
Today is Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day for our fallen soldiers. At every cemetary in the country families and friends and communities at large gather to mourn and to remember their children who gave their lives in the protection of our tiny country. A tiny country surrounded unfortunately by enemies and constantly at the center of world politics. A country who has no desire to conquer the world— a country that quite simply just wants to exist in peace not war.
War and army enlistment and the very unfortunate reality of loosing loved ones in their army duty is a part of life here in Israel. While every family who has lost a son or daughter certainly mourns their loss every day, today this mourning and remembering will be done in a public way, with a national siren for two minutes of silence that is impossible to ignore, and in a way that hopefully we, together as a people, can help lift the burden of each family's loss. Today we try to fill this emptiness with gratitude and love, and a sincere desire for peace. Is it too much to hope that not even one more mother will have to bear the burden of sending her precious child off to war?
Note: In the United States, the reality is, that Memorial Day means a three day weekend and a "let the summer begin" attitude, with barbeques and relaxation for most of the population, who really have no connection to war and loosing loved ones. Unfortunate, but understandable, that's how I grew up. Most people, except those who do have a military background or family members who served recently, really never give the idea of the holiday much thought. Here in Israel where life is quite different, the day is a somber day of mourning.