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Yom HaZikaron

Today is Yom HaZikaron, the day we remember those soldiers who gave their lives defending the State of Israel.  They are far too many for such a small nation.  To mark this day I share Natan Alterman's "The Silver Platter."

The earth grows still
the lurid sky slowly pales
over smoking borders.
Heartsick, but still living, a people stand by
to greet the uniqueness
of a miracle.

Readied, they wait beneath the moon
wrapped in awesome joy, before the light.
A girl and boy step forward,
and slowly walk before the waiting nation;

In work garb and heavy-shod
they climb in stillness.
Wearing yet the dress of battle, the grime
of aching day arid fire-filled night.

Unwashd, weary unto death, not knowing rest,
but waring youth like dewdrops in their hair
silently the two approach
and stand,
are they of the quick or of the dead?

Through wandering tears, the people stare.
"Who are you, the silent two?"
And the reply, "We are the silver platter
upon which the Jewish State was served to you."

And in speaking, fall in shadow at the nation's feet.
Let the rest in Israel's chronicles be told.

May there soon come a day when no more will be offered on the silver platter!