Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Yom HaZikaron

In Israel, today was Yom HaZikaron, the literal translation of which is "Memorial Day" and, as that implies, is a day to remember the sacrifices of all of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen/women who gave their lives in defense of the nation.  That it occurs immediately before Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) has great poignancy.

One great tradition of Yom HaZikharon is that 11:00 AM, the sirens all sound and everyone stops what they are doing and stands at attention.  Drivers pull their cars to the sides of the road and get out so that they can stand at attention.

Today I was at a meeting on the sixth floor of a building.  Through the window I could see a tree-pruning crew at work on the street below.  When the sirens sounded, they brought down the man in the cherry-picker, who joined his co-workers as they stood at attention by their truck, some holding their chain saws in hand.

Today, wife was accompanying a group of medical students on some hospital rounds.  When the 11:00 siren sounded, the patient at whose bedside they happened to be, a veteran of the Yom Kippur War, insisted upon getting out of his bed and standing at attention with everyone else.

At many businesses it was "white shirt day," and many places had special ceremonies to commemorate Yom HaZikaron.  Businesses closed at 1:00 PM, by which time I had begun my trek back home.

In Israel it is unthinkable to stage a recreational event such as a golf tournament on Yom HaZikaron.  The Israelis are serious about remembering their war dead.  Israel's military casualty count now stands at 23,477.  Israel's population is about 8.5 million.  The United States population is more than 40 times that of Israel.  Go do the arithmetic!

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