Remember the Fallen

Letter from the Chairwoman of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization

Bereaved families swing back and forth between the desire to continue living in memory of fallen loved ones, and the rest of the pain we experience.


Published: Tuesday, April 21, 2015 , Arutz Sheva

Nava Shoham Solan

The writer is Chairwoman of the IDF Widows and Orphans Organization.

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Dear Friends,

Memorial Day is a fixed ritual in an entire year of events – scandals, festivals, oversights, debates, disasters, accomplishments, successes, and victories.  We, the bereaved families, swing back and forth between the desire to continue living in memory of our fallen loved ones, and the rest of the pain we experience, both personal and national.

Yet, it seems as if Memorial Day bursts out anew into our consciousness each year.  On such a day, I know that once again, the heavy and awful price I have paid for our battle of survival will be remembered.  This year as in every year, the spotlight will shine on our loved ones, who gave their lives for our independence, and we, too, will be remembered: the families who ask to remember, and continue their lives in the shadow of memories. 

Again we will be discussed, and they will talk of how our lives split into two periods – before the bitter news and afterwards. Alongside statistics and numbers, with stories that sadden and ones that elevate our hearts, they will talk about us, the bereaved families.

Everyone knows that Memorial Day is not meant for the bereaved families, but for the rest of our society that needs to hear the siren in order to stop the crazy routine and remember those who gave us the chance to live such a routine.  I also know that we are surrounded by many people and their love throughout the year, and that many of our friends remember our fallen loved ones – and us – and remain close to us not only on this day.  Although the entire nation stands silent together, and many pay their respects at graveyards on this day, I would like to remind everyone about the day after Memorial Day.

In a sharp transition, the State of Israel switches from “Yizkor” (Prayer for the Departed) to the “song” of independence; we light the torch of commemoration and immediately thereafter start the barbecues.  The following day, it seems that there is no memory of the unique unity of Memorial Day, nor of the pride surrounding another year of independence, another year of “normal” (as much as possible) life, despite it all. 

On this day, I ask that we remember those who serve in the IDF and contribute to our society, and that we all continue to give a hand and bear the burden equally, and consider one another.  I ask that this day be a sign that directs us all year long on a path of giving and devotion, as of the path of our fallen loved ones, a path of mutual respect and open hearts, in the spirit of the Torah of Israel, to the widows and orphans. 

We, who lost our husbands, spouses, and fathers who left to serve and did not return, ask that their loss not be in vain; we ask that their contribution to society and our country will justify itself in the 364 routine days of our calendars.  We will justify their contribution if we walk their path, if we don’t stay numb to the pain around us, if we bear the burden together.

This year as every year, I pray: Please, share the warm embrace you wrap around us on Memorial Day all year long.  Be with the bereaved families every day.  Be attentive to their hardships not only on this day.  Open your hearts to anyone who needs a hand, because only together we will succeed in climbing the mountain instead of stumbling down the slopes.  We have not yet gotten to the pinnacle of our lives, (if in this life, at all), but together we can change our lives to be good, full of quality and meaning.

We will remember our loved ones today.  And we will remember them forever.

Nava Shoham Solan, Chairwoman

IDF Widows and Orphans Organization

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