Today was a day…a day we will all remember. More importantly, it is a day we will want to remember. I left my phone in my pocketbook, ignored for much of the time. We were all together.
Together, as a family, we celebrated our youngest son’s entrance into Jewish tradition. From the moment he was born, he was destined for this moment and all the moments to come. Many friends, David’s and ours, joined us. Some came from near, others traveled greater distances. It was a show of love, a show of support. Each felt the joy not only of sharing in the moment, but in seeing that Elie was there too.
This is a scene repeating itself all over Israel. The sheer joy of seeing them safe, seeing them home, mingled with the deep and endless sadness as we recall those who didn’t make it home. They came home with backpacks filled with gifts from a grateful nation. I hesitate as I write this, knowing that there will be those who will send me silly and stupid comments asking if we were rewarding them for murdering and going to war.
No, we were not rewarding them. We were thanking them. More importantly, we were trying to do the only thing that we could do. We couldn’t change how the enemy treated them, but we could change how the weather effected them. Elie came home with thermal underwear, several new pairs of socks, several pairs of new gloves, scarves, hats. Anything to help them keep warm. He was given washing kits and shampoo and toothpaste…anything to make them just a bit more comfortable.
They went to war for us; we went to pray for them. There are amazing battle stories, miracles of how men were saved when the trap Hamas had set for them was averted. Elie told me some of what the artillery units were responsible for accomplishing. This was a war that elevated artillery in the minds of many other parts of the army. It was with the grace and determination of artillery, that so many units were able to operate so well in Gaza.
I have so much to write about the conversations I had with Elie – but still in the midst of a family celebration, these must wait until tomorrow. For today, I’ll explain that it is now after 11:00 p.m., on the second night that Elie has been home. He’s on call for the ambulance squad. I don’t know how they knew to call him – he probably called them and told him he was back home.
So far, he hasn’t been called – but the shift only began a short while ago. Once his going out like this terrified me. I can’t even explain now why that was so. It seems so obvious now that there’s little to really worry about, so tame compared to the past few weeks.
Today we spoke again about the war. The message he gives is one of pride in the way in which the army functioned. One of the Arabs captured during the war expressed his amazement at how the Israeli army fought. ” You [Israel] are fighting like you fought in 1948. What got into you all of a sudden?”
That is very much what Israel and the soldiers felt – that they were fighting for a common goal, a common enemy. I could go on and on – but I’ll write about tomorrow and other things soon. For now, I want to continue enjoying today.