I Have 23,741 Brothers Who Will Never See The Light Of Day Again
Today we remember them.
The siren had just ended.
In Israel, one day before the annual Independence Day is Memorial Day. This year, we remember 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3150 terror victims since the state of Israel was founded.
For years, it was the one day I couldn’t be emotionally sold on. It felt distant. Something that will never happen to me. I don’t know these people, these soldiers.
I respected the fallen nonetheless even though I didn’t feel sad. I finally understood only last year.
My supposed indifference finally shattered when it hit someone close to me.
I have that friend, for privacy reasons we’ll call him Avi. Avi led a very challenging life. When he was in the army, he got hit directly by the enemy forces and was blown away by a bomb. His arm was crushed, and he got ricochets lodged into many places in his body. Avi was in his early twenties when that happened.
After many months in the hospital, he developed a pessimistic, bleak outlook of life. Around that time, he met his would-be bride. She was powerful enough to get him out of his low place and helped him return to a somewhat healthy life.
In 2017, as he was patrolling the streets of his small home town near Jerusalem, a terrorist managed to come close enough and shoot him and others who were around.
He survived, his two close friends didn’t.
By this time, Avi and I were writing-buddies. We never met in person until that point in time, but we were friends for more than a year, helping each other craft our fantasy worlds.
When I heard he got hit, I left work and went straight to Jerusalem. A two and a half hour drive but I didn’t care. My friend was lying in a hospital bed, and I needed to see him. To be there for him.
So I did.
A year later, I found out that this terror event had ruined his marriage to the love of his life. They are scheduled to respectfully divorce. Their little daughter is the primary victim of the pain this event had brought into their lives.
Today, on Memorial eve I sent him a message saying I hope he his stable and that I send him a hug. This is what he answered:
“Thank you, my brother. My only wish for you — is that you’ll never find out how much this hurts.”
Today I remember. I never knew them, but they are my brothers and sisters. They made the ultimate sacrifice so I can sit at the heart of Tel Aviv and write an article undisturbed, safe.
They made the ultimate sacrifice so we can smile and be happy in our own home.
I will never forget you.
Oren Cohen is a Software Development Engineer, Gamer, Geek, and Writer. He is writing in all sorts of topics on Medium, though his passion lies with Fantasy and Video Games.