"How do you deal with the loss of your brother?" an orphaned boy asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
He and other orphaned children of IDF soldiers and victims of terror met with the prime minister last week.
Netanyahu, whose brother Lt.-Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, was killed in the 1976 Entebbe rescue raid, was so moved by the meeting, that he made it the basis of the Remembrance Day speech he delivered Monday morning at the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.
He cited both the boy's question and his own response.
"I do not know how to advise someone on how to deal with such a loss," Netanyahu said.
Another boy told the prime minister, "My mother says we must go on."
That comment, Netanyahu said, made him think of his own mother's heroism when she lost her oldest son.
"I told him, 'Your mother is a heroine,'" the prime minister replied.
Another child asked Netanyahu, "Did it strengthen you?"
"I paused for a moment, thought about it, and responded, 'In a certain sense, yes, because there is almost nothing that can compare to that pain,'" Netanyahu said.
"There were some children who didn't want to talk at all. I told them that I understood them, because talking about loss raises strong feelings that can paralyze us. Each family deals with grief in its own way. Nevertheless there is a sadness that we all share, the life that was before and the life that came after, the scab that will never disappear.
There is no cure and no complete comfort," he said.
"Maybe the answer to death is life itself, the life of each and everyone of us, the life of the state and the nation," Netanyahu said.
He urged the children to look around them at the marvels of the state, the strongly built Jerusalem, the bustling Tel Aviv, the blooming Haifa and the new momentum in the Negev and the Galilee.
"We will continue to fortify our strength, we will continue to work and to hope for peace with our neighbors, and we will continue to defend our country," he said.
"We know that we would not be here without the willingness of our soldiers to fight for our existence," he said.
The nation celebrates Independence Day each year because of those who survived the battle and those who sacrificed their lives, he said.
"With tearful eyes and a heart full of pride, we salute the fallen heroes," he said.
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