Today is Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembering all of the Israeli soldiers who have fallen in defense of the Jewish State. Additionally, we remember all of the victims of terror, killed in attacks specifically intended to kill Israeli civilians. In Israel there is a siren that is sounded in every town and every city. The entire country stands in silence, cars stop on the highways and the drivers exit their vehicles. Every TV channel tells the stories of each victim and their names are shown one by one for 24 hours. There is no American equivalent of this rememberance, which makes it difficult to imagine an entire country standing in solidarity with those who lost their lives in defense of their lives.
I remember clearly being at a tekes, a ceremony, for fallen soldiers at an Israeli high school many years ago. The banner that was flying above the students said, "A state is not given on a silver platter." It is a shame that this is the truth and that children understand this reality at such a young age. However, without the sacrifice of the men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces, we would not possess a state, the locus for Jewish life, culture, and energy in our age.
Yizkor, Zichronam L'vracha. Remember, may their memories be for a blessing.