Yom Hazikaron - personal reflections delivered by captain Nadav Masad

As the day turns to evening and the shadows loom large, we begin the commemoration of Israel’s Memorial Day  -- Yom Hazikaron  -- for those who fell in Israel's wars. On this special day the entire nation of Israel and Jewish communities around the world stand together along side of the families who lost their sons and daughters. Their pain is our pain;` their grief is our grief- because those soldiers who fell in battle – are connected to us all. They sacrificed their lives for us.  Israel – now celebrating 62 years of independence and unprecedented achievements, owes a tremendous debt to those who bravely sacrificed their lives for our freedom and security. Soldiers who returned from the Israel’s battlefields endure the painful separation from friends they lost. I, like others carry pictures in my memory of unforgettable battles. I see my friends’ faces, commanders and soldiers I led. I see familiar dust covered faces showing signs of their strain. I see Michael, Tom and Malko. I hear voices cut off by exploding, metallic noises. I smell the sweat and the fire from the battleground.In the heart and soul of every soldier and commander there is a special place for these friends. Like a page in a picture album faded with time that brings back fresh memories --  of those who were there in the line of  fire.  Of those who carried in their arms wounded comrades and felt their warm blood and heard their last breath. We who have experienced the terrible price of war vow to spare the next generation of Israel’s children and soldiers from having to pay the price of war as we strive towards a future of peace and security. 13 years ago we lost our commander Major Nadav Milo ZL in a battle with Hezbollah. Before he was killed Nadav wrote a letter to his soldiers in which he pointed out the principles of his commandership. First of all, he said, make excellence your habit – results will follow; this is how we try to operate and the motto that leads us. I believe that No outside force can triumph over Israel as long as we protect our inner strength, the Strength of the Jewish people with its thousands of years of determination. This determination to protect our lives and understanding the reality of our existence must never sway us in our hope for peace -- even when it seems distant. Today there is a real threat to our existence.  We are threatened from close and from afar. We are not intimidated and we are unwavering in our commitments. We do not want war, but if it is forced upon us, we will respond appropriately and we will be victorious. May the memory of the fallen be blessed and be forever bound in the lives of the people of the State of Israel and of the Jewish People.




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