'Why do people have to die?'

Nimrod Cohen's bus didn't come on Sunday morning. So he returned home to get a ride. "I won a few more minutes with you," Cohen's mother Esti told her son as he lay in a coffin draped with an Israeli flag in Jerusalem's Mount Herzl military cemetery Friday. "Another kiss, another hug, another time to say I love you." The 19-year-old Nahal soldier was among the eight IDF troops killed on Wednesday. Hundreds of grieving friends and family members attended the ceremony. Cohen's mother described for her son all the people who had come from different parts of his life, including school, the army and his community of Kibbutz Mitzpe Shalem. "Look at how much beauty you put in their life," she said. "With everyone here today we see a part of him," said his father, Arieh. He described his older son as fierce in his convictions and gentle in his demeanor. "He would do everything until the end." Cohen also left behind a nine-year-old brother, Doron. Cohen's unit commander told the crowd gathered at his funeral that he would volunteer for every assignment "just like he did before this last battle." One of the many friends who spoke at the funeral highlighted his dedication in working with new immigrants, which he did as part of a year of pre-army volunteer service. Another one recalled how his circle of friends gathered together and spent hours talking about Cohen after hearing the news Wednesday, watching video tapes of him and crying. "You're not only a brother. You're not only a friend. You are a part of our body and soul," said a friend from his kibbutz. A friend of his parents, Shlomit, who had known Cohen from birth also took the podium, overwhelmed with grief like scores of those around her. She called him the "sweetest and kindest" child and recalled significant moments in his life, such as the high school trip he took to Poland. She also related a conversation she had had with him when he was five. One day, she said, he asked, "Why do people have to die?" The question was difficult to answer, she noted. "We didn't have an answer then, and we don't have an answer today." Then she asked her own question: "Nimrod, why?"