Today was a particularly meaningful day for me. We visited Mount Herzl, a Jewish memorial cemetery. At first, we visited the graves of Theodor Herzl and Yitzchak Rabin-- great Jewish leaders that we all can look up to. However, the collective soldiers' graves affected me the most. We also looked at graves of soldiers from the 1948 War of Independence. As we've learned from our soldier friends from the trip, these soldiers are the heart and soul of Israel. The army is not an intimidating unit, but rather a collective group of my peers. It's frightening and shocking.
I was shocked not by the number of Israeli graves from the '48 war, but by the ages of the fallen soldiers. A 20 year old soldier's grave shocked me to the core. I could not imagine anyone my age fighting such an intense war, and yet here was a fallen solider- someone who had lived through the Holocaust and was truly fighting for his/her freedom. The grave of a 16 year old soldier saddened me further- this child should have been learning history in his 11th grade social studies class and not fighting this war that would become of it. Seeing our Israeli friends discussing their friends who have died in battle brought on another wave of emotions that these wars are just so painful.
Mount Herzl was beautiful, completely contrasting the memories of death that it held. It's scary to now be able to put a face on the Israeli army-- 8 faces, to be exact. I hope with all of my heart that the IDF won't always need to send so many soldiers into battle. It's downright scary to think that it could be any one of us fighting in those fields.