As previously mentioned (It’s All in the Position), after Elie and the soldiers marched out, a friend asked if I had perhaps phoned ahead and set up the positioning. There was Elie, standing so proud and handsome…lined up with the perfect back-drop of the Israeli flag flying over his shoulder.
After a few speeches and presentations to a group of soldiers, the commanding officers moved among their men – each was congratulated and presented with his new bars. Three stripes to be worn on the upper arms, indications of their new rank and accomplishments.
And finally, as Elie’s commanding officer moved on, we got our first glimpse of our new Commander!
At the end of the ceremony, standing proud in the distance, the 160 new commanders presented themselves to their families and sang the Israeli national anthem – Hatikvah…The Hope.
It was impossible to miss the stone walls to our left. Behind a sign that proclaimed, “These are the names of our heroes” – stand several walls covered with the names of Artillery men (and likely women) who have fallen protecting our country. I noticed, from the distance, that the list of names, divided by years, pre-dates our country’s re-establishment.
I couldn’t bring myself to walk amidst the walls and read the names of the fallen. It’s something I owe them, and something I’ll do someday…but not this day – when my heart and soul are filled with pride.