Comparing Memorial Days

On Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, (which is right before their Independence Day), they ring a siren throughout the country, at which time the entire nation stops and falls silent to honor their veterans and soldiers. People stop talking, walking, driving – everything.

Israel has purposely placed their Memorial Day the day before their Independence Day, and switches from mourning to rejoicing in a mere moment. They understand that they are only free through the sacrifice that others have made for them. And they want to remind their children of those sobering truths so they won’t take those sacrifices for granted.

So they will not forget. If you don’t know where you came from, how will you know where you’re going?

How does most of America honor our veterans on Memorial Day? With BBQs, races, shopping/sales, and family vacations. Was there much solemnity on the day we are supposed to be honoring our fallen for their sacrifice? Was there even a moment of thanks given to them by the average citizen? Our “day of rememberance” looks an awful lot like a “day of celebration”…

I’m not pointing fingers here, as I am just as guilty as everyone else – it’s another symptom of a declining nation, a nation that is ignoring its past in lieu of the current, with little thought of its future. When I was little, my father made it a point to take us to the cemetery nearby on Memorial Day – because that’s what was done on Memorial Day, to help us understand that we were there because of those who came and fought and fell before us.

Another reason for the difference between how Israel and the United States reveres their Memorial and Independence Days is because of the threat. Israel has faced existential threats in 1948, 1967, 1973, and faces a growing threat from Iran and Syria. The United States has not faced a true existential threat since the Civil War in 1865 (though the Cold War came close).

Honestly, I was a bit sad to leave Israel. It wasn’t due to having to say goodbye to the Holyland and returning home from a long vacation, but from having to go back to a place where it feels like we’re losing our freedoms, where the government ignores our laws and the media denigrates our own history, where it feels like most people have no idea where we’re going and don’t even care.

To return to a country where our own President does not like the very nation he governs and is seeking to transform it into one of the many European nations our own ancestors desperately fled from.

To return to a land whose educators and universities seem ashamed of our proud history and whose teachers are not even allowed the fundamental freedom to teach our own ancestors’ beliefs and heritage, let alone acknowledge that there’s a Creator.

To return to a nation whose government, media, schools, and even many of its churches have turned their backs against God and His land — our nation that once considered herself to be the New Israel.

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