David Brinn, editor of Israel21c, posted moving and heartfelt words about Israel’s captured & missing soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit. I share some of the beginning paragraphs here in hopes that you will read it, go to his site and read the rest. May the words within it reach your heart and soul.
“Parents attending last week’s 6th grade graduation ceremony at the Tali Gimmel School in Ma’aleh Adumim might have been misty-eyed at the site of their ‘babies’ moving on to junior high.
But that wasn’t the reason I had tears in my eyes. It wasn’t just the usual sentimentality of watching your children grow up. What got to me was looking out at my 12-year-old son Koby and the 70 other graduates and seeing 70 young versions of Gilad Shalit standing in front of me.
Last week’s capture of Cpl. Shalit by Hamas members and the resultant effect on Israeli society had an eerie sense of familiarity about it – perhaps because it’s a situation that’s been repeated so many times since I’ve lived here.
A soldier is apprehended by terrorists and the people undergo an immediate transformation – from an argumentative, splintered bunch of subcultures into one big, concerned family.
Everybody can identify with the Shalit family as they wait to hear word of their son’s fate, because we’ve all either been in the army, or have parents, children or neighbors serving.
There’s no distance whatsoever when you see Shalit’s photo flashed on the TV screen or in the newspapers, or that of his father stoically standing outside the family home in the Galilee. That’s our son being held, that’s us being interviewed – because it could happen to any of us.
Looking out at the sparkling group of boys and girls (children, really, with barely even a glint of teen maturity in them), I was struck by the thought that in six short years, they would be Gilad Shalit, wearing uniforms, carrying weapons, and defending their country.
Imagine the transformation they would be going through in these next six years to turn them into soldiers, I thought. Or maybe not. Perhaps Gilad Shalit, held today in captivity with his condition and fate cloudy, has a lot more in common with the 12-year-olds who were dancing and singing on the basketball court of the schoolyard than is apparent. When did he stop playing with Pokemon cards, or action figures? Maybe five years ago? Maybe less.
Even though Shalit’s capture was noted by some of the school speakers at the ceremony – temporarily creating a somber feeling – the overall atmosphere was one of celebration and joy. Despite Shalit undoubtdedly being on the mind of every parent, the prevalent but unspoken message reflected in the upbeat ceremony and student-performed entertainment was ‘our lives are going to carry on no matter what they try to do to us.’…”
[Hat tip to Allison Kaplan Sommer]