Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Two Good Cries: Weddings & Funerals of IDF Soldiers

Two posts that brought tears to my eyes today - one, about the wedding of a soldier who came back from Lebanon just two days prior; the other, about the funeral of a soldier whose family will not be celebrating with him ever again.

Treppenwitz posts about the wedding he and his wife attended. Excerpt:

When I was talking with the Bride's mother before the ceremony, she told me that the army had offered to let the groom leave Lebanon early for his wedding, but he refused to leave his men while the war was still raging. His rationale was that his men were already operating under extremely dangerous conditions in enemy territory... and to have a new, unfamiliar officer take over his command would further endanger everyone. So he made the decision to stay.

Looking around the reception it was easy to spot the groom's friends. They fell into three groups:

1. Those that had returned from Lebanon two days ago. These were the guys whose sunburns had mostly faded to tans and who had been able to shower, shave and change into mostly clean uniforms.

2. Those who had returned from Lebanon the previous night. While they had shaved and had managed to buy or borrow clean white t-shirts during the day (and had tossed aside their sweat-stained olive-colored uniform shirts), they still wore filthy army pants.

3. Those who had come directly from Lebanon to the wedding that day. These were the guys who hadn't had a chance to even wash their faces or find a clean t-shirt. They had several days worth of stubble on their cheeks and still wore their dirty army uniforms stained with the soil of Lebanon.

Jameel posts (including many pictures and a short clip) from the funeral. Excerpt:
The final eulogy was from his mother, Chagit. She spoke about her son, his qualities, what made him special, and their last meeting together -- when she convinced him to let her drive him to the Israel-Lebanese border, 3 weeks earlier. She recounted that he would never let her drive him anywhere, but this one time, he relented. When they arrived at his base, he gave her a kiss on the cheek before getting out of the car, and then, he got out, walked around to the other side of the car, opened her door, and gave her another kiss. She was shocked -- he never acted like this before, and rarely kissed her. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she said, "Benia, why do I deserve 2 kisses?" And he replied at the time, "How lucky I am to have a mother who drives me to war...take care of yourself..."

And he was gone.

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