Among the many fallen soldiers whose memory we honor this week, the figure of the late Yonatan Boyden comes to mind. As a young man, Yonatan and his parents immigrated to Israel from the UK. I first met him when I interviewed him for the "Orev" Company of the Paratroopers Brigade. When he spoke of his desire to be a combat soldier and protect the country he immigrated to, I saw a spark in his eyes. I welcomed him into the company and knew he would be an excellent soldier and a true brother in arms.
Yonatan suffered serious wounds in battle at Jabal Sejoud in the north of the Security Zone in Lebanon and died of these wounds a few days later. He loved life and was willing to risk his own for the sake of the State of Israel.
This is where our independence takes shape - the place where the choice of life meets the willingness to sacrifice it to defend the State of Israel. Every year, I witness once again how much Yonatan’s death pains his family. Just like them, many families in Israel are hurting, for grief does not discriminate. It might knock on the door of any family whose sons and daughters serve in the military.
Memorial Day establishes a deep connection between each individual and the nation. This year, precisely in the shadow of tensions, we must focus on our own personal memories and wrap ourselves in their humane strength. Memorial Day obliges us to come together and focus on the things that connect us. We must respect the cemeteries and ensure they do not turn into places of dispute.
"We must respect the cemeteries and ensure they do not turn into places of dispute"IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi
We must be worthy of their sacrifice
There is a deafening power in restraint and silence. Uniting with our fallen loved ones will not be possible in the commotion of dispute.
Thirty years have passed since Yonatan died for his beloved land. The price he, and many others, paid with their lives, and the price their families paid in their deaths, obligate us to be worthy of their sacrifice.
At the moment of unity, each of us carries with us someone who has fallen. During the ceremonies, we must reduce ourselves to only the pain of its loss and cling to it as a shield from any other noise. At that moment, we must only remember, mourn, and pay our respect,
If only for a moment, if only for one sacred day.