PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Memorial Service for IDF Fallen Soldiers

PM Netanyahu’s Speech at the Memorial Service for IDF Fallen Soldiers

  Photo by GPO  
  Enlarged Picture  

We bow our heads and fly our flag at half-mast in honor of our loved ones, in commemoration of the members of the underground organizations, security forces, intelligence, police, and the IDF who fell in Israel’s campaigns.

Not far from here, Rachel the Matriarch wept for her children. Today, some 4,000 years later, we weep for our sons and daughters who fell for our right to be a free people in our country.

My fellow members of the family of bereavement, I am familiar with what you experience today, and on every day. I am one of you. How does one contain the torment of parents who have lost their son or daughter, the tragedy of children never knowing their fathers, the sensation of severed limbs felt by bereaved siblings, the never-ending longing of a young widow for adolescent love, never to be experienced again?

My brothers and sisters, I stand here today on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, as the Prime Minister of Israel and as a bereaved brother. Two days ago I came here with my family and I stood by the grave of my older brother, Yoni. Yoni, I miss you; I miss you today and every single day. I feel your absence at big events and little occurrences, at happy occasions and sad moments.

My brothers and sisters in the family of bereavement, we all feel that way. Memorial Days come and go, and suddenly we realize that the number of years without our loved ones exceeds the number of years we had them by our sides. As time goes on, when we face difficult moments we search for shreds of new memories, any mark of our fallen loved ones. When anyone says: “I knew him,” we immediately ask if they have a photograph with him, or a scrap of paper, a memory, a letter? We seek any anecdote that might breathe life into the lifeless, who are alive inside of us.

I know, time is supposed to heal everything. That is not true. The years pass and the ache remains. But in time, that flash of sharp pain is dulled by other instances filled with memories of the good times we had with our beloved.

Dear families, we feel that pain day in and day out. But today, on Memorial Day, our private pain becomes national grief. As we stand here by the graves of our fallen family members in cemeteries all over Israel, the entire nation stands with us. It stands in silence, bows its head and cherishes the memories of the fallen and their families. Today we are one big family, because our people, well versed in sorrow, knows that its independence exacted the price of the courage of our finest; it knows that it is thanks to those who fell that we are alive today.

May the memory of the fallen, the memory of our dearly loved ones, be forever cherished in the national memory.