Daniella Lakri saluted her son, Nir, as she knelt by his flagdraped coffin,
moments before his body was lowered into the ground at Haifa’s military cemetery
on Friday afternoon.
She wore dark sunglasses and a black T-shirt. With
her hands on the coffin, she said her final words to her only son. Nir had
married his wife, Maggie, just last August, and she is fourmonths’ pregnant with
“Farewell, my sweet son,” she wept.
Then, as she
pounded her hands on the coffin, she added, “I won’t disappoint you, I will be a
wonderful grandmother. I will raise the daughter you left behind, just as I
raised you. I thank you for her.”
Lt. Lakri was one of six airmen killed
during a training flight Monday when their Yasour helicopter flew into a cloud
and then crashed in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. Their bodies were
identified only late Thursday night and flown back to Israel on Friday
Within hours after their arrival, friends and relatives shoveled
dirt across their graves in six cemeteries across the country, from the South to
Nir’s father, Yuval, said that in the past when he had watched
televised shots of funerals for fallen soldiers, “I could not imagine how the
bereaved family members could stand above the grave of their loved ones and part
“I never imagined that I would one day stand in such a painful
situation in which I was eulogizing you,” said Yuval to his son, who would have
turned 26 this Tuesday.
He recalled how Nir first flew on an IDF Hercules
plane with his uncle when he was only two-weeks-old.
was some king of a bacteria there which stuck to you. At age 26, you are ending
your life on a Hercules plane on your last flight, this time in a coffin,” said
Speaking of the crash that killed his son, he said, “I am sure
that on that flight you didn’t have time to think of danger when you entered the
cloud. From your perspective, you are still on that cloud.
“I am not
burying you. I release you for another routine flight,” said Yuval.
wife, Maggie, who at one point buried her face in her husband’s coffin to bid
him farewell, also spoke to the thousands of mourners.
“I feel like I am
in a bad movie that refuses to end. We are parting your way, through the sky,
through the metal monster you loved so much.
“I promise you that I will
heroically fulfill this last mission that you left me, to raise our Pitzie,”
She said she had gone for walk, “between the trees and the
flowers, in the outdoors that you so loved.
“We will never part,” she
added. ‘Watch over us from your big white cloud.’ In Rehovot, Ruby Cohen
eulogized his older brother St.- Sgt. Oren Cohen, 24, who he had followed into
the air force and whose virtues he believed were endless.
bright, talented, charismatic, strong, a guide and a leader,” said
He smiled as he spoke of his brother, even though at times he also
paused to hold back tears.
“You always said that the Yasour was an evil
beast that could withstand anything, but it could not withstand you,” said Ruby.
He added that he missed his brother’s tough love, his critical views and
“You were my best friend and my anchor. You were the brightest
light in the sky, in our skies,” said Ruby.
“You were right about
everything, the way is not easy. You were the best and you succeeded.
are better because of you,” said Ruby.
He recalled how his brother had
eulogized fallen soldiers on the Remembrance Day for Fallen Soldiers in the
The family played a tape of Oren speaking that
“Remembering the fallen helps us cope. They paid the ultimate price
so that we can continue to fight and say, ‘we are here and we are the best,’ and
we will pay any price that is necessary for our families, our friends, our
parents and for everyone,” said Oren in the tape.
In Modi’in, a friend of
Lt.- Col. Avner Goldman, 48, said of the father of four, “you were a wonderful
person, an admired officer and you excelled in everything. You knew how to lead.
You know how to allow those under you to make mistakes and learn from them...
You devoted yourself to your family and the air force while pursuing your own
“But beyond everything you were a caring and empathic
You were a teacher and a friend. Thank you for the long talks and
for the moments of laugher and happiness,” he said.
Shipenbauer, 43, a father of three, was buried in Gdarot. Maj. Yahel Keshet, 33,
a father of two, was buried in Sharona military cemetery.
Maj. Lior Shai,
28, a father of one, was buried in Hod Hasharon.