i went to the kotel on a rare visit to watch the ceremony put on by tzahal and city reps. when התקווה began, i realized that was my first time singing it with a crowd of israelis since i got here in january. it reminded me of when i was at the GA last year and they played the american national anthem and i cried in a rare heartfelt moment of patriotism because i realized it would be my last time as a full-time american – no regret, however, it was emotional because it meant soon i was to be a dual citizen, and my second citizenship – to become my first – was a life dream’s fulfillment.
with ulpan we went to a ceremony put on by a local high school (as all high schools were doing at the same time, at 11 am, the time when the national siren sounded and everyone is still for 2 minutes of silence). different than the glamour of the municipality-level tekes of the eveining before. this held an innocence. it was a mix of:
soldiers of the graduating class of the year before as well as preceding years returning to be a part of their alma mater’s ceremony in the inevitable soldier status. there to visit on yom hazicaron, there to set a precedent, there to be an example. there as young faces, a long year away from high school, coming far to go back and be close.
teachers with tears staining their made-up cheeks as they greeting their former students of science, language, history – witnessing the growing up – in uniform, the midst of national duty.
and finally, students – especially the seniors, hints of awe at watching their former seniors take their places in the soldier section of the audience, wrapped in olive, blue and white uniforms, moved on in the process of Israeli life, a place where these high school seniors will be only a few months from now.
pictures – צילומי יום הזכרון