Yom sheni, 5 Iyar 5770, Yom HaZikaron.
When I was a little girl, American flags would be displayed proudly on Flag Day and Independence Day. Older people even had them flying on their homes on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day. And, of course, there were people who flew the American flag all the time -- some taking it down at night, and none that I remembered allowing it to touch the ground.
Times changed. Fewer homes flew flags. Fewer people knew it was Flag Day or Memorial Day. It was hard to completely forget Veterans' Day, because invariably there would be some old fellow with watery eyes shining with an old doughboy toughness from beneath his military cap, his jacket covered with medals of heroic campaigns forgotten. The Fourth of July was easy to remember, because it was a day of sales and fireworks and barbecues with the neighbors. There might still even be parades...
We stand for the Yom HaZikaron siren. The country stands still to remember our fallen heroes -- those in uniform, and those whose heroism was earned over pizza or ice cream, or just because they chose to ride the bus our enemies targeted. We will concentrate on these losses as we travel through this very sad day. And tonight, we will build up for the joy that is Yom Ha'Atzma'ut, the Day of Israel's Independence.
Yom HaZikaron flows into Yom Ha'atzma'ut as a perfect metaphor for the life of a Jew. It is not unusual to go to a brit milah in the morning, followed by a vort, followed by a shiva visit, and end the day at a wedding or bar mitzvah celebration. The rollercoaster life of one who is privileged to be embroidered into the tapestry of others' lives...
As we have prepared for these twin days of abject sorrow and joyful pride, my neighbors in Neve Daniel have been showing their true colors.
Flags are flying all over town in honor of our dear departed, who fought and died for this soil we call Home.
Flags dance in the Neve Daniel wind to celebrate the honor of being raised over the country that is the closest thing we Jews have had to something of our own in thousands of years.
And here and there, an old soldier will still see a flag that has blown to the ground, and pick it up, to preserve the honor it represents.
As more than twenty neighboring Arab nations manipulate the Western world's negative feelings toward our people, trying to wrest this tiny piece of land from us, piece by piece, we celebrate Israel -- the first flowering of our redemption. May we see the complete redemption of the Jewish people and G-d's world, speedily and in our days.
"Od lo avda tikvateinu..." We have not yet lost our hope..." -- a line from "Hatikva," the national anthem of Israel
Yom HaZikaron: Day of Remembrance (of those who have fallen in battle to defend our nation; of those who were killed in terrorist acts, may Hashem avenge their blood